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Many countries have established restrictions on entry and/or visa and permit issuance to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many have also put in place quarantine and medical testing requirements. Some countries have now begun to lift some of these restrictions and requirements. Some countries have also introduced concessions to support impacted visitors, residents and other visa holders. The measures introduced by some common destinations are as follows:

ARGENTINA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The national government has ordered a closure of the country’s air, sea and land borders until at least August 30, 2020. Entry is allowed for citizens and residents of Argentina; those involved in international trade operations and the transport of goods; and crew members of aircrafts and ships. A repatriation program is in place for Argentine citizens who are abroad.

National authorities have started to approve Special Entry Permits for non- resident foreigners during Mandatory Social and Preventive Isolation (ASOP). The entry permits are limited for Workers with essential activities and Temporary workers detailed in decree NUD 297/2020 issued by the National Executive Power (NEP). An exceptional authorization issued by the National Authorities is required to enter the country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers arriving in the country are subject to a 14-day mandatory home quarantine.

The federal government has implemented a quarantine/social distancing period for the country until at least August 2, 2020. The quarantine is being most strictly enforced in Buenos Aires and its suburban areas. Other areas of the country with a reduction in cases are now allowed to gradually ease restrictions.

Status of Government Services

All services provided by the National Immigration Department (DNM) and Renaper have been suspended indefinitely. Other federal agencies such as Anses and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have restricted their services to the public. Accordingly, all visa applications have been suspended until further notice, DNI status inquiries are not possible, and applications for a CUIL number at the Social Security Department are also suspended. Those with pending visa applications and a provisional stay permit that expired on or before April 18, 2020 may renew their permits online.

The processing of applications for admission as a temporary resident in certain categories (migrant workers, rentiers, pensioners, investors, scientists and specialized personnel, athletes, artists, recognized religious cults, academics and students) for foreign nationals from China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, the United States and European Union countries who are outside of Argentina is temporarily suspended.

The online processing of Electronic Travel Authorizations (AVE) is suspended.

The government has instructed consulates to suspend the processing of visas and entry permits for temporary residents or visitors of countries with circulation of COVID-19.

Concessions

National Migration will extend the validity of transitory residence, temporary residence and certificates of precarious residence for 30 calendar days. As well as the inscriptions in the National Register of Foreign Requirements.

Deadlines for compliance with all privacy and summons issued by the National Directorate of Migration are suspended. The application of this benefit may require a special request on a case by case basis.

The government of Buenos Aires is automatically extending all drivers licenses with expiration dates of 2/15/2020 to 4/15/2020 since all renewal appointments have been suspended.

The validity period of documents about to expire (e.g., visas, DNI) will be automatically extended for 30 days initially and potentially longer.

A digital National Identity Document (DNI) is now available. The Digital DNI will shorten the overall immigration processing time, as it can be obtained as soon as Residence status is approved–there is no need to wait for the issuance and delivery of a physical DNI card. The digital DNI can be used exactly as a DNI card to prove identity for banking and immigration processes as well as other processes at national and provincial public administration offices.

AUSTRALIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Australian government has introduced a Travel Declaration form to be completed by all incoming travellers. This includes Australian citizens, permanent residents and everyone transiting through the country. The declaration must be completed online no more than 72 hours prior departure to Australia. Anyone over 15 years old must complete a declaration. Parents of children under 15 years old must complete a declaration for them. The declaration is valid for a single entry only.

A travel ban has been imposed for Australia. No one will be permitted to enter Australia except Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members; Pacific Islanders transiting to their home country; New Zealand citizens who reside in Australia; and New Zealanders transiting to New Zealand. Also exempt from the ban, provided they request and are approved for an exemption before traveling, are foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government to assist with the COVID-19 response or whose presence in the country is otherwise in the national interest; those providing critical medical services or with other critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services; those delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery, where no Australian worker is available; diplomats who reside in Australia and their family members; and those entering for humanitarian reasons.

“Critical skills” includes medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production, and the maritime industry. “Critical sectors” includes financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology.

Exemptions should be applied for at least four weeks before the planned travel date, but not more than three months before.

Individuals with 457/482 visas and other non-permanent visas are not permitted to enter Australia unless they have compelling or compassionate reasons to do so and obtain pre-approval from Immigration. Such reasons might include work in public health or a critical business project. Employers may need to postpone the employment start dates of new work visa holders/applicants until the travel ban is lifted.

Australians are prohibited from travelling abroad. Exceptions may be possible by applying for pre-approval to travel.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers (including Australian citizens and permanent residents) who are admissible to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Strict penalties may apply for those who do not comply.

Visitor visa holders should return to their home countries as soon as possible. If they cannot do so, they need to maintain a valid visa and should apply for visa renewal or a different visa before their current visa expires. Visitors with a “No Further Stay” condition on their visa (including 8503, 8534 or 8535) and less than two months of stay remaining can request a waiver of this condition so they can file a new visa application.

Sponsors are reminded that they must continue to adhere to all sponsor obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic period, including record keeping and notifications to the Department.

Applicants in some industries may need to meet additional requirements due to increasing unemployment rates.

Status of Government Services

The Department continues to process visa applications, but priority is being given to infrastructure projects and workers and healthcare and medical workers, which means that other occupations and categories (e.g., non-essential workers and applicants outside Australia) will experience significant processing delays. Most Department officers are working remotely while other officers have been reassigned to quarantine-related activities, both of which also impact processing times.

The processing of student visa applications filed outside of Australia will resume so that student visa holders will be ready to travel when the entry restrictions are lifted. 

From late September 2020, sponsors (Companies; Individuals; Partnerships and unincorporated associations) must notify the department in writing of “temporary changes” to the employment arrangements of the sponsored visa holders, such as: Reduced working hours, Temporary lay off/stand down, reduced salary, leave without pay, remote working arrangements.

Concessions
  • Government will offer a waiver of the visa fee VAC for subsequent applications by affected temporary employer sponsored skilled migrants, Visitor Visas (who are currently overseas with visas expiring between March 2020 to December 2021 and apply for a new visa), Working holiday visas (who have been unable to come to Australia) and Prospective Marriage visas (who have been unable to enter Australia before their visa expired).
  • The visas of Temporary Skilled Visa holders who have been “stood down” (asked to temporarily stop working) but not laid off entirely will remain valid and they will be allowed to extend their visas as needed. However, visa holders who have been terminated must abide by their original visa conditions and must leave Australia within 60 days if they cannot obtain a new position or a different visa. If they cannot return to their home country, they should obtain a different visa (e.g., a Bridging Visa) to remain in Australia.
  • Temporary Skilled Visa holders who have been stood down or had their hours reduced will be allowed to access up to AUD 10,000 of their superannuation (pension funds) in this financial year. Other financial resources may also be available to such employees. See  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/jobseeker-payment, https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/JobKeeper, and  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/special-benefit for more information.
  • If a visa holder who was stood down or terminated is re-employed after the pandemic, their time spent in Australia will count toward their skilled work experience requirement for permanent residency, even if they did not work for part of the time.
  • Holders of temporary visas that have just expired or will soon expire who cannot leave Australia due to travel restrictions, who do not qualify for any other visa category, and who plan to conduct an essential service related to the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for the Subclass 408 visa. Please contact your immigration professional for more information.
  • A number of concessions are being implemented for international students in Australia. Namely, visa application charges will be waived for international students who file additional student visa applications if they could not complete their studies under the original visa because of COVID-19. Study conducted online outside of Australia will count toward the study requirement for a post-study work visa. Graduates who are outside Australia and unable to re-enter due to COVID-19 may apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia. Finally, student visa applicants will have additional time to provide English language results in the event of COVID-19 service interruptions.

AUSTRIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Austria has begun to relax entry restrictions. Travelers may now enter from inside the European Union/Schengen Area, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, United Kingdom and Vatican City.

Entry from outside the above regions/countries is permitted for Austrian citizens and their family members, holders of long-term Austrian visas or residence permits, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members, diplomats, travelers in transit, those entering for medical treatment, or those providing essential services (e.g., seasonal workers, transport workers, humanitarian workers, nursing and healthcare workers).

Checks at land borders with the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland have been removed. Checks at land borders with Hungary and Slovenia are still in place.

Flights from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Iran, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom are banned from landing in Austria until August 1, 2020, with limited exceptions (e.g., cargo, repatriation and emergency flights).

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers residing in and entering from one of the following 31 European countries are exempt from medical certificate and quarantine requirements as long as they have not been outside of these countries in the 14 days before entering Austria: Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Vatican City. Note that travelers from Portugal, Sweden and the UK are not exempt.

Some other categories of travelers (e.g., transport staff, transiting travelers, among others) are also exempt from both requirements.

The majority of other travelers must present a medical certificate in German or English issued no more than four days before the entry date confirming that they have been tested for coronavirus and do not have the disease. Travelers who do not have a medical certificate must provide evidence of accommodation for a 14-day quarantine.

Please contact your immigration professional to confirm medical certificate and quarantine requirements in your case.

Status of Government Services

The immigration offices have begun to reopen. Appointments are required for in-person services.

Some consulates have reopened but these may be offering limited services and may not offer regular visa services. Check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings.

BELGIUM

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Belgium has introduced an entry ban for all travelers except 1) citizens or legal residents of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK and their family members; 2) non-EU national holders of a Belgian residence permit who are returning home; 3) cross-border workers; 4) EU Blue Card holders whose work cannot be carried out at a distance; 5) travelers in transit; 6) diplomats and personnel of humanitarian and international organizations, or those attending meetings at international organizations; 7) students; and 8) other travelers whose entry is considered essential.

Belgium has thus far elected not to implement the European Council’s recommendation to admit the residents of certain green listed countries for non-essential travel.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Belgium are subject to a 14-day home quarantine and COVID-19 testing except for travelers entering from certain EU/Schengen countries/regions and some areas of the UK. See this site for details.

All passengers on a flight from outside of the Schengen Area to Belgium must complete a Passenger Locator Form and submit it upon arrival.

Status of Government Services

Some Belgian embassies and consulates have resumed accepting and processing certain visa applications. Please check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings.

Applicants for work and single permits are advised to submit applications by email due to ministry closures in the three regions of Belgium.

Town halls are resuming limited services, primarily for urgent cases. Please contact the relevant town hall for its status and service offerings.

Concessions

Employees who cannot leave Belgium due to quarantines, flight cancellations, or travel restrictions and whose residence authorization is due to expire can apply for an extension of stay in Belgium for up to 90 days.

If workers who are normally employed in another EU member state telework in Belgium while the lockdown measures are in place, a Limosa declaration is not required. If a Limosa declaration has already been made and the location of employment in the declaration is not the same as the location of telework, the declaration need not be amended.

Concessions in the Flanders region: The Flanders region will keep applications for which additional information has been requested open beyond the normal 15-day deadline to submit the additional information due to the difficulty in obtaining documents at this time. Also, workers forced into temporary unemployment due to the coronavirus situation will be exempt from meeting the standard minimum salary requirements.

Concessions in the Brussels region: Workers forced into temporary unemployment due to the coronavirus situation will be exempt from meeting the standard minimum salary requirements.

Concessions in the Walloon region: In the event a worker is forced into temporary unemployment, the employer must notify the Walloon Ministry and the employment contract can be suspended.

BRAZIL

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of May 14, 2021, flights from India, South Africa, and the UK are suspended until further notice.

Travelers that have transited through India, South Africa, or the UK within 14 days before arrival are banned from entering the country until further notice.

All travelers entering Brazil via air travel, including Brazilian citizens, are required to present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of the flight date. Foreign national travelers are also required to present a certified health statement confirming their health conditions set by the government of Brazil.

Most foreign nationals are still banned from entering by land or sea.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Visitors who will stay for 90 days or less must provide evidence of health insurance that will be valid throughout their stay in Brazil before boarding their flight to Brazil.

Status of Government Services

Many Federal Police offices are closed. Those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are beginning to resume services and schedule appointments.

The Ministry of Justice is again processing and adjudicating residence permit applications.

BULGARIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
All travelers are banned from entering Bulgaria by any mode of transportation except the following:
  • Nationals of Bulgaria and their family members;
  • Holders of Bulgarian permanent residence permits, long-term residence permits or Prolonged Residence Permits and their family members;
  • Nationals of EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City;
  • Travelers entering from EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City and Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Ukraine;
  • Healthcare workers and providers of other essential services; diplomats, cross-border workers, and those entering for humanitarian purposes; and
  • Those in transit who are nationals of Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia or Turkey or residents of an EU/Schengen country or Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Most travelers entering Bulgaria are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Those entering from Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain or Vatican City as well as certain other categories of travelers (e.g., medical, transport and cross-border workers) are exempt from the quarantine requirement.
Tourists coming from Portugal and Sweden should present the results of a negative PCR test conducted in the 72 hours before entering the country, or they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Tourists not subject to quarantine must submit a declaration to health inspectors at the border stating that they will observe the Ministry of Health’s anti-epidemic measures and that they are aware of the risks of COVID-19.
Status of Government Services
Migration Directorate
National Employment Agency
Bulgarian Embassy in the US
Concessions
Residence Permit IDs or certificates that expire between January 1 and October 31, 2020 will be extended automatically for at least six months.
Long-term or permanent residence permit holders who are outside of the EU during the state of emergency will not have their period of absence counted toward the 12 months of absence allowed.

CANADA

NOTE: Foreign nationals from CIP client companies who currently hold a valid Work Permit or a Work Permit pre-approval (through online submission) for Canada and want to enter Canada should contact their CIP immigration professional before travel so CIP can advise on additional documents they will need to bring upon entry. These documents include but are not limited to proof that they have a job to go to and proof that they have a place to quarantine. Family members seeking to enter Canada to reunite with their families should also contact CIP as they may require special authorization prior to travel.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of April 22, 2021, all passenger flights arriving to Canada from India and Pakistan are banned for the next 30 consecutive days.

Effective February 15, 2021, anyone arriving in Canada at one of its land borders will need to show a negative COVID-19 test no older than 72 hours. Failure to present a negative COVID-19 test may result in fines. Essential workers such as truckers and emergency service providers, as well as cross-border communities, will be exempt from this requirement. Additionally, effective February 22, 2021, travelers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine. All travelers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

Canada will bar entry to anyone that is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or First Nation or one of the following (among other limited categories of travelers): An immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident provided they stay in Canada for at least 15 days (proof of relationship must be presented) (family members are defined as spouses or common law partners, dependent children, dependent children of dependent children, parents, legal guardians or tutors); An immediate family member of a Canadian temporary resident, with permission from IRCC; A foreign national with a valid Canadian work or study permit; A student with a pre-approval letter (letter of introduction) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) dated March 18, 2020 or earlier; A worker with a pre-approval letter (letter of introduction) from IRCC; A new worker who will be employed in critical industries (e.g., agriculture, food processing, health, transportation, emergency services); A foreign national who has been approved for permanent residence and has a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued on or before March 18, 2020 (the COPR must be presented before boarding the plane); A traveler transiting through a Canadian airport; A Canadian citizen with dual or multiple citizenship traveling to Canada on a foreign passport, with permission from IRCC; or A traveler entering from the US for an “essential (non-discretionary) purpose.”

Also allowed to enter by plane are flight crews, diplomats, Canadian forces on official travel, persons specifically authorized by Consular officers, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Chief Public Health Officer.

All travelers except the immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be entering for an “essential (non-discretionary) purpose.” Those traveling directly from the US only need to meet this condition while those traveling from other countries must fit into an exemption category as well. Non-essential travel is considered travel for tourism, recreation, or entertainment.

More information on who can travel to Canada during the pandemic is available on the Canadian government website.

Canadian Work Permit applications that qualify for port of entry (POE) filing may once again proceed for US nationals and visa-exempt nationals coming in from the US, without an online, consular application as a precursor. Pre-approval from the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU) may be recommended for some cases. Please consult with your immigration professional for assistance with this process.

Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada for the sole purpose of obtaining a US entry stamp will not have their travel be deemed essential. They will be barred from entry unless they qualify for one of the above exemptions.

All incoming international flights will have to land in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver, except for flights coming from the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Canadian residents are advised to avoid all non-essential international travel.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

As of February 22, 2021, all air travelers, with some exceptions, will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period. Air travelers will also be required to reserve prior to departure to Canada, a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel. Travelers will be required to stay at their reserved hotel for up to 3 nights, at their own cost, while they await the results of their arrival test.

All travelers, whether arriving by land or air will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a suitable quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border or boarding a flight. All travelers arriving to Canada must also continue to submit COVID-related information electronically daily throughout the quarantine period. In addition, travelers must avoid all contact with others in their household with whom they did not travel.

Travelers coming from countries where the required PCR testing is unavailable will be required to quarantine in a designated Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine facility for 14 days. Air travelers entering Canada must comply with mandatory hotel quarantine at their expense to await the results of a COVID test.

Most travelers entering Canada, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. Exemptions apply to some categories of travelers, including crew members; military personnel; and providers of essential services (according to the Chief Public Health Officer), emergency services, or medical services, among others. Harsh penalties including fines, imprisonment, and bars to entry may apply to those who violate the Quarantine Act. Those who would normally be allowed to enter but who show symptoms of illness will be barred from entering.

Arriving travelers must wear a face covering on entry and en route to their quarantine location and must present a detailed quarantine plan to the CBSA border officer describing where they will quarantine, how they will get from the airport to their lodging without using public transportation, how they will acquire essential supplies (as they are not allowed to leave their lodging for groceries, etc.), and how they will care for children and pets, if any. Travelers may not quarantine with any “vulnerable persons” (those over 65 years of age or with compromised immune systems or medical conditions that increase their risk of contracting COVID-19). Each traveler must complete a “Coronavirus Form” detailing their address and contact information in Canada.

Employers with workers arriving in or returning to Canada are responsible for accommodating the self-quarantine and ensuring their workers are following their quarantine plan. Employers must pay isolating employees the wage indicated in the work permit application for at least 30 hours per week, even if they are not working due to quarantine. Service Canada is conducting remote compliance inspections to confirm that employers are accommodating their workers’ self-isolation and complying with related requirements. Those that do not comply may be subject to a fine of up to CAD one million and may be banned from using the temporary foreign worker program.

Airlines are required to prevent travelers of any nationality with virus symptoms from boarding flights to Canada. Those allowed on flights are required to wear a face mask.
Temporary workers and students whose status will expire in the next six months should file a renewal application online as soon as possible and should remain in Canada, as they may have difficulty re-entering.

Status of Government Services

Many Canadian Visa Application Centers (VACs) are temporarily closed. Some are open but providing limited services and it may be difficult to obtain an appointment. Find more information here.

There are processing delays for permanent and temporary residence applications. There is limited access to local government offices and doctors to perform immigration medical exams.

Canadian authorities are processing Temporary Residence Visas (TRVs) and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs) again to reduce the backlog. However, issuance of one of these documents does not mean the bearer is permitted to enter Canada. The bearer will still be subject to border closures and travel restrictions unless he/she meets one of the exemption categories.

All Canadian consulates are prioritizing applications related to COVID-19 relief (e.g. healthcare professionals, supply chain workers) prior to others. Accordingly, the processing of consular filings remains severely delayed and consular processing times are unpredictable. However, it is still advisable to file applications to get them in the queue.
Biometrics collection in the US is recommencing, albeit in an unreliable fashion. There are glitches with the appointment system where confirmed biometric dates are haphazardly changed without warning.

IRCC Service Update: IRCC Is also prioritizing applications for essential workers that directly assist with the COVID-19 effort, and all other applications filed online are moved to the back of the queue. Paper applications for Permanent Residence and Citizenship can still be submitted, but applications for visitor records, study permits, and work permits should be submitted online. IRCC has implemented measures to support foreign nationals affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus. Please see the IRCC website for details.

Service Canada Service Update: Service Canada centers are beginning to reopen, with some offices open while others remain closed. The new eServiceCanada portal allows those requiring assistance from Service Canada to submit an online request and receive a callback from a Service Canada officer within two business days. Despite the reopenings, online services should be used whenever possible. Employers may be granted some flexibility in reporting changes to employment conditions (e.g., wage changes, furloughs). Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications can now be filed by email and fax. 12 and 24-month reviews for Labour Market Benefit Plans are suspended as are on-site compliance inspections. Online applications for Social Insurance Numbers are no longer possible. Applicants must submit paper applications with original supporting documents that will be returned after processing.

Concessions

The validity of positive LMIAs should be extended from 6 months to 9 months, however, employers should check on a case-by-case basis to see if this applies.

Foreign nationals who need to complete biometrics or medical exams for an application to IRCC and are unable to do so due to service interruptions can be granted an extension from 30 days to 90 days.

Certain priority occupations, primarily in the agricultural and foodservice industries, will be eligible for expedited processing and exempt from the advertising requirement. Please contact your immigration professional for more information.

Change of employer applicants are allowed to begin work with their new employer 10 days after filing the change of conditions application, while it continues to be adjudicated.
Delays in start dates for foreign nationals who have been issued Canadian work authorization but cannot start their employment/assignment with the Canadian entity due to internal company policies should generally be allowed.

IRCC has implemented measures to support foreign nationals affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus. Please see the IRCC website for details.

CHILE

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Chile has closed its borders until at least May 31, 2021, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. A curfew has been imposed during this time each day from 9 PM until 5 AM (local time). Non-resident foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter Chile but will be allowed to depart if they prove they do not have the intention to return.

The temporary border closures apply to non-resident foreign nationals, with exceptions for the following persons:

  • Diplomats
  • Transit passengers
  • Minors traveling with parents who are Chilean nationals or permanent residents (birth certificates of minors must be presented to border patrol)
  • Travelers that have not been any country that currently has community transmission of COVID-19 (as determined by the World Health Organization)
  • Travelers with official authorization to travel from a Chilean consulate

Chilean nationals and permanent residents are permitted to enter Chile under the following conditions:

  • Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR Test taken within 72 hours before the departure of their last flight for Chile
  • Must complete a sworn “Affidavit of Travelers” prepared less than 48 hours before boarding their last flight to Chile
  • Must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. The first five days are to be completed in an official quarantine hotel at the traveler’s expense. On the fifth day, travelers will be tested for COVID-19. Travelers will be able to complete the quarantine at home if they test negative, but will have to stay at the quarantine hotel for an additional 11 days if they test positive.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All arriving travelers, including Chilean citizens, who present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before the traveling date, are exempt from mandatory quarantine. Travelers that do not present the test must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. They must also complete and sign an affidavit attesting to the state of their health and their travel history over the 30 days before entry to Chile. The forms will be provided on the aircraft or ship before arrival.

The authorities have established quarantines within the country to restrict movement, with entry to and exit from certain areas prohibited. As of July 22, 2020, the government has published a plan called “Step by Step” for gradually lifting the quarantines. The plan consists of five phases for reopening applicable to each commune under quarantine.

Status of Government Services

As of April 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended non-urgent legalization services until further notice.

All Chilean consulates have ceased issuing visas until further notice. The domestic Migration Department is still working, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs abroad is not. The Migration Department is currently working from home, so there will be delays in processing.

Applicants in Chile are still able to file applications for visas in Chile. Foreign nationals who entered as a tourist before the border closure are able to apply for a visa to live, study, and/or work in Chile. Those who entered Chile before March 18 can apply for residency in-country.

For foreign nationals who receive approvals, the Migration Department is working on providing electronic stamps or “Electronic Provisionary Stamping.” Not everyone will receive this, as it is a work in progress and being launched incrementally.

From April 15 to October 12, 2021, the administrative office will not be accepting permanent resident applications from citizens of Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, China, or Peru. Citizens of these countries are required to submit permanent resident applications online through the Immigration Department. Beginning October 13, those who submitted their applications online will have 60 days to validate the records they submitted online.

Concessions

The Policía de Investigaciones (PDI) has arranged for several processes to be conducted via its website: Certificate of Vigency of Permanent Residence, Residence Certificate, copy of visa registration, change of address or activity, certificate of missing documents, Tourist Card copy, and Travel Certificate.

The time in which to inform the Migration Department about a change of employer has been extended to 180 days, counted from the end date of the contract with the previous employer.
The Migration Department is giving applicants for Permanent Residence who have filed incomplete applications 120 days to submit the information/documentation required to complete the application, up from the usual five days. The deadline is counted from the notification date.

All drivers’ licenses that will expire in 2020 will be automatically extended for one year.

CHINA, MAINLAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The National Immigration Administration of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a policy indicating that foreign nationals who hold any type of visa or residence permit will not be permitted to enter China due to the COVID-19 situation.

Foreign nationals whose entry or reentry is absolutely necessary can go through an entry authorization process despite the general border closure. This entails submission and approval of an entry authorization request at the FAO in the destination city/jurisdiction in China, followed by submission and approval of an entry visa request through the Chinese Consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. (Consulates are processing these requests despite their general closures). The entry visa request is for the usual visa categories (M Visa, L Visa, etc.) rather than a special visa category for the special entry authorization. If the visa is approved the foreign national may enter China and may be able to apply for a Work Permit or Residence Permit in the country.

Beijing has canceled the majority of incoming and outgoing flights to and from its two airports due to a new outbreak of COVID-19. Beijing residents are to avoid non-essential travel outside the city.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most major metropolitan areas in China now require travelers entering from nearly all foreign destinations, including the United States, to undergo screening for COVID-19 and perform 14 days of monitored quarantine, either in their residence or in a Chinese facility, with the quarantine location determined based on their risk of COVID-19 infection.

For Shanghai, as of May 16, 2021, all travelers arriving at Shanghai airport from abroad will be sent to a designated location outside the airport after clearing immigration to take a COVID-19 test. The airport will provide transportation to the location and travelers will need to stay there for about 24 hours waiting for the test result. Travelers who have been in the following countries in the last 14 days will be sent to a designated location for both testing and a 14-day quarantine, provided they pass the test: South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, United States, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Austria, Malaysia, Greece, Czech Republic, Finland, Qatar, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

For travelers not from the above countries, those who pass the test and have a fixed residence in Shanghai will be sent to their residence for a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Those who pass the test but do not have a fixed residence in Shanghai will be sent to a designated hotel in Shanghai for a 14-day self-quarantine. In all cases, those who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent to a medical facility. After the 14-day quarantine, Shanghai will continue to implement community health monitoring for 7 days.
Foreign nationals applying for a residence permit and medical exam in Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Beijing, Chendu, Shenzhen or Guangzhou are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

China is not issuing business visa endorsements for Hong Kong SAR.

Status of Government Services

Foreign nationals who enter China after May 16, 2021, and need to do a medical check-up must wait 21 days from the date of arrival. Travelers must bring their certificate of quarantine (14 days) and community health monitoring (7 days) to their medical check-up.
Chinese officials have indicated that they will begin providing visas again only to foreign nationals who have taken a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine. Foreign nationals who have taken a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to apply for visas under the same pre-pandemic rules and regulations.

Eligible applicants are encouraged to check statements published by the relevant Chinese embassy where they would be applying for a visa for more information on this upcoming change.

Most Chinese consulates are closed except for the processing of visas for exceptional entry authorization (see Travel Restrictions and Permissions above) and other exceptional applications.

Concessions

All Chinese visas and residence permits will be automatically extended for two months beyond their expiration dates in Shanghai.

Most Expert Bureaus are allowing applicants to apply online instead of appearing at the Bureaus in person. Original paper files must be kept in the event the documents need to be verified later and employers and employees must attest to the authenticity of the online application.

Foreign nationals with residence permit that expired while they were out of the country may obtain a visa-on-arrival by presenting their expired residence permit at the port of entry.
The requirement to file work permit renewal applications at least 30 days before the expiration date has been suspended temporarily.

COLOMBIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
As of September 19, 2020, international passenger flights are now allowed to arrive at Colombian airports. Passengers must comply with specific protocols. The protocols are the following:
  1. Fill out the pre-check form in the “CheckMig” application here www.migracioncolombia.gov.co24 hours in advance and up to 1 hour before the flight closes. This tool will allow travelers, nationals and foreigners to preload all the information related to their trip.
  2. Present a PCR test with a negative result issued no longer than 96 hours before the flight. Travelers with fever and respiratory symptoms will not be allowed to board the flight.
  3. Report the health status through the “Coronapp” application and respond to the tracking that their insurer or the secretary of health should do.
  4. Report to EPS (health provider) if during the 14 days after the trip, the passenger presents symptoms of Covid-19.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Anyone who does arrive from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Status of Government Services
The processing of visas for foreign nationals outside of Colombia has resumed. However, consular openings and service offerings depend on the conditions in the country in which the consulate is located. Please contact the relevant Colombian consulate to confirm its status and service offerings.
Migración Colombia has suspended the following services that require foreign nationals to make an in-person appearance through August 31, 2020 (or until the health emergency declared by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection has ended):
  • Issuance of a foreigner’s ID card (for initial, renewal and duplicate applications)
  • Foreigner’s registration
  • Temporary Stay Permit to change permission
  • Extension of Permanence
  • Certificate of Migratory Movement
  • Certificate of Migratory Movement and Nationality
  • Safe-stay permit SC-1 and SC-2, with certain exceptions
Concessions
Migracion Colombia will not take administrative actions against foreign nationals who could not complete visa registration, application for a foreigner’s ID card, or other obligations due to the preventive isolation measures and suspension of services.
Entry and stay permits that expire during the health emergency will be automatically extended to one month after the end of the health emergency.

COSTA RICA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Costa Rican President has announced that effective March 24, 2020, all foreign nationals with regular status in Costa Rica (permanent residents and holders of residence permits, stay visas, student visas, work permits, special category visas and others) who leave the country will automatically lose their legal immigration status. This measure is expected to be in place until at least July 31, 2020 and such foreign nationals are not allowed to re-enter until at least August 1, 2020.

All visitors, including business visitors, are banned from entering the country until at least July 31, 2020. Legal residents (holders of work permits, resident permits, stay visas, student visas and special category visas) who left the country before March 24, 2020 as well as Costa Rican nationals and diplomats will be allowed to re-enter.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Those who are permitted to enter Costa Rica are subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry.

Status of Government Services

The Immigration Department will not receive new applications of any kind until September 21, 2020 but will continue processing pending applications until that time. The Department will continue to issue notices of approval and denial by email or fax only.

Processing and issuance of new and extended ID cards (DIMEX) will continue through Banco de Costa Rica.

Concessions

Birth, criminal record and marriage certificates, as well as other documents issued abroad that expire(d) between March 17 and September 18, 2020 will be considered valid until September 18, 2020.

Stay Visas that expire(d) after March 17, 2020, will be automatically extended until August 18, 2020.

Visitors who entered Costa Rica after December 17, 2019 may legally remain in Costa Rica until November 18, 2020.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Czech Republic has begun lifting restrictions on entry. The following travelers are now allowed to enter, unless otherwise restricted due to their departing country’s level of risk:

  • Czech citizens and their family members;
  • Nationals of all EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Vatican City and their family members;
  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand;
    Czech long-term visa and residence permit holders and D/VR visa holders;
  • Holders of long-term residence permits issued by an EU or Schengen country, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK, Vatican City, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, or Thailand;
  • Visa-waived nationals or short-term visa holders employed in certain critical sectors;
    Cross-border workers; and
  • Travelers transiting to their residence in another country.

From June 1, 2021, vaccinated travelers who have been vaccinated in the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, or Slovenia can enter the Czech Republic without a test or quarantine when travelling from high-risk and medium-risk countries. Vaccination certificates from other countries are not recognized at the moment.

Travelers returning from extreme high-risk and very high-risk countries still need to undergo the test before and after entry regardless of vaccination.

Further, foreign nationals returning from extreme high-risk countries are newly allowed to enter the Czech Republic only if they hold a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic. Returning long-term residents are no longer allowed to enter when travelling from those countries.

Czech nationals and foreign nationals residing in the Czech Republic are again allowed to travel abroad, but are banned from entering “black-listed” countries.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most travelers entering the Czech Republic are required to present a medical certificate issued within the four days before entering showing a negative COVID-19 test result. Those exempt from this requirement include nationals and residents entering from one of the “greenlisted” countries listed in the section above, who can be tested in the Czech Republic. Travelers in transit and cross-border workers are also exempt.

Most travelers must also quarantine for 14 days after entry, with limited exceptions.
The Czech Republic has updated its policies on who can enter the country according to where they are traveling from and that country’s level of risk. As of April 27, 2021, the following rules are in place:

All travelers arriving from “black” countries, who resided in the country for more than 12 hours in the past 14 days are obliged to:

  • Step 1: fill in the online form at https://plf.uzis.cz before entering the Czech Republic.
  • Step 2: Have a negative PCR test (taken max 72 hours prior to the start of the journey) in a paper form or as an electronic scan.
  • Step 3: Undergo a first PCR test in the Czech territory within 24 hours after arrival.
  • Step 4: Undergo a second PCR test in the Czech territory no sooner than 10 days and no later than 14 days after arrival.

All travelers arriving from “dark red” countries, who resided in the country for more than 12 hours in the past 14 days are obliged to:

  • Step 1: fill in the online form at https://plf.uzis.cz before entering the Czech Republic.
  • Step 2: Have a negative PCR test (taken max 72 hours prior to the start of the journey) in a paper form or as an electronic scan.
  • Step 3: Undergo a PCR test in the Czech territory no sooner than 5 days and no later than 14 days after arrival.

All travelers arriving from “red” countries, who resided in the country for more than 12 hours in the past 14 days are obliged to:

  • Step 1: fill in the online form at https://plf.uzis.cz before entering the Czech Republic.
  • Step 2: Have a negative PCR test (taken max 72 hours prior to the start of the journey) in a paper form or as an electronic scan.
  • Step 3: Undergo a PCR test in the Czech territory within 5 days after arrival.

All travelers arriving from “orange” countries, who resided in the country for more than 12 hours in the past 14 days are obliged to:

  • Step 1: fill in the online form at https://plf.uzis.cz before entering the Czech Republic.
  • Step 2: Have a negative PCR test (taken max 72 hours prior to the start of the journey) in a paper form or as an electronic scan.

The list of countries divided by level of risk can be found here.

Residents of other countries or holders of resident permits in “green” countries are allowed to travel to the Czech Republic without any further requirements.

All Czech citizens and residents are prohibited from entry into “black” countries.

Status of Government Services

As of August 1, 2020, all consulates of the Czech Republic have at least partially reopened, with the exception of those in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and Kazakhstan. Some are providing full services while others are providing limited services. Please check with the relevant consular post for their current status and service offerings.

New and renewal applications for foreign nationals already in the Czech Republic with expired or expiring long-term visas or residency status will be processed as usual.

Government Measures Adopted Against Coronavirus
Prague Regional Labor Office
Ministry of Interior (registration)
Czech Embassy in the US

DENMARK

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of May 1, 2021, travel restrictions were eased for those who have been vaccinated or previously infected with COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated/previously infected residents of Denmark may travel to “orange” countries without needing to test or quarantine upon return. They also no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding flights to Denmark from “yellow” or “orange” countries.

Fully vaccinated residents of the EU or Schengen countries are also no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test or approval to enter Denmark.
Otherwise, the following are allowed to enter Denmark:

  • Danish passport holders and their family members
  • EU passport holders with a Danish Health Card (yellow card)
  • EU/Schengen Area and UK residents and residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City traveling for tourism or other purposes, provided they are not symptomatic and present evidence that they have accommodation for at least seven days
  • Non-EU nationals with a valid Danish Residence Card and their family members
  • Those with special strong ties to Denmark (e.g., those employed in Denmark)
  • Business travelers
  • Cross-border workers
  • Students and trainees
  • Residents of “open countries” Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay entering for business, work, study, provision of services, or personal reasons/tourism, with evidence that they have accommodation for at least seven days
  • Visitors to a summer home or close family members in Denmark
  • Those visiting a critically or terminally ill family member or participating in a funeral
  • Those exercising visitation rights with a minor
  • Those in ongoing health treatment
  • Those called for a court case
  • Passengers in transit

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Residents of “banned countries” visiting a summer home or relative are required to provide upon entry confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test completed 72 hours or less prior to entry, or a statement that they were unable to complete a test in this timeframe.

Status of Government Services

Denmark is conducting a controlled reopening of the country. The Danish Immigration authorities/Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) offices are open and scheduling appointments; however, processing delays should be expected.

International House in Copenhagen has offered to assist with cpr.registration in Greater Copenhagen such that assignees will not be required to appear. Based on the information submitted in the application form together with the POA from the assignee, International House will issue CPR numbers and send health cards directly to the assignees’ home addresses.

Concessions

The deadline for providing biometrics has been extended until July 2020. For those outside of Denmark, it is possible to submit biometrics in some countries. For those in Denmark, SIRI will contact applicants to schedule biometric appointments as online scheduling is not yet available.

FINLAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
The following are allowed to enter Finland:
  • Nationals of Finland and their family members and holders of Finnish residence permits entering from any country;
  • All travelers entering for any purpose from Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia, and Vatican City (border controls or lack thereof have returned to normal);
  • Travelers entering from Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom and Monaco (border controls remain in place) who are Finnish citizens and their family members, EU/Schengen nationals residing in Finland and their family members, third-country nationals with Finnish residence permits, travelers transiting to their place of residence in another EU/Schengen country, students, or those entering for work-related or essential travel, including pressing family matters;
  • Residents of Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China who are arriving from these countries; and
  • Travelers entering from other third countries who are Finnish citizens and their family members, EU/Schengen nationals residing in Finland and their family members, third-country nationals with Finnish residence permits, travelers transiting to their place of residence in another EU/Schengen country; or those entering for “essential reasons,” including pressing family matters.
Please see www.raja.fi for approved “essential reasons” and complete information on who is permitted to enter FInland.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
A 14-day home quarantine is recommended except for travelers entering from Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia, Vatican City and residents of Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China entering from these countries.
Status of Government Services
Finnish consular posts are closed for most services.
Concessions
Due to consular post closures, applicants for residence permits who normally have three months from the date of their online application to submit supporting documents to consular posts now have until August 31, 2020 to do so.

FRANCE

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travelers from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea, are now permitted to visit France.

As of June 1, 2021, entry to France from the United Kingdom is permitted only for EU nationals, French residents, or people traveling for “compelling reasons”, including vaccinated individuals. Those permitted to travel are required to take a PCR test prior to departure and must agree to quarantine for 7 days upon arrival.

Cross-border workers and individuals providing essential services can also enter.

Some statuses such as Passport Talent and Poste ICT Workers may continue to enjoy an exemption from visas and the right to enter the territory regardless of the country of origin. However, beginning April 29, 2021, holders of Talent Passport visas from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, and South Africa will be banned from entering France.

Other travelers from these 5 countries over 11 years of age will also be required to provide a negative PCR test taken less than 36 hours before their flight to France.

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land borders.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers entering France (excluding EU Member States, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican) must present a negative PCR test no older than 3 days, an international travel certificate which states the reason for the travel, present a declaration on their honour certifying that the traveler does not show signs of Covid-19 and has not met persons suffering from Covid-19 within the last 14 days. This declaration will also certify that they undertake to self-isolate for 7 days on their arrival and to have an “RT-PCR COVID” virological test carried out at the end of the isolation period.

Where persons travel from a country where it is impossible to have “RT-PCR COVID” a virological test carried out, it is possible, provided that a negative antigenic test is available, to request an exemption from testing from the French Embassy for a compelling reason, subject to prior agreement to stay for 7 days in predetermined accommodation on arrival and to undergo an “RT-PCR COVID” virological test at the end of the isolation period.

For persons who went abroad before January 18 2021 and who are experiencing difficulties in accessing an “RT-PCR COVID” virological test locally in order to return to France, it is possible to request an exemption from testing from the French Embassy, subject to a commitment to have an “RT-PCR COVID” virological test carried out on arrival in France.

Those who do not do so will be subject to a 14-day quarantine after entering, including travelers entering from the UK.

The forms can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of the Interior in French or English and must be presented to the transportation company before boarding and also to the border authorities on arrival. The certificates confirm the approved reasons for which a foreign national may travel to France or a French overseas territory.

Status of Government Services

French consulates have started to reopen. Online appointments are required. Please contact the relevant consulate for their status and service offerings.

Immigration authorities such as OFII and the prefectures have started to reopen, but with restrictions in place such that contact with the public will be limited and only certain applications will be processed. Prefecture appointments in Paris and Lyon canceled during the lockdown period will be rescheduled. Prefectures will contact applicants to reschedule.

Concessions

All French visas (except short-stay/C visas), residency permits, “récépissés” (receipts), or “APSes” that expired between March 16 and June 15, 2020, have been automatically extended for six months. Holders of short-stay visas and foreign nationals staying under a visa waiver who cannot leave France are eligible for extensions beyond the usual Schengen stay limit (90 days in any 180-day period). Extensions can be applied for at the relevant Préfecture. Those with expired permits that have been automatically extended are advised to not leave France, as they may have difficulty re-entering.

French citizens who are returning to France between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, without professional activity are immediately registered with the French Social Security scheme. Spouses of assignees who are not employed no longer have to prove three months of consecutive residence in France to be registered with the French Social Security program.

Students who hold a Residence Permit can now work for 1,285 hours each year, which totals 80% of the year. Previously, they were only allowed to work for 60% of the year. This change remains in effect until the higher education system in France returns to normal.

GERMANY

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All travelers of any nationality arriving from EU/Schengen countries or the UK are permitted to enter for any purpose.

Entry from other countries is permitted for nationals of EU/Schengen countries or the UK and their dependents; travelers from Australia, Canada, China (subject to reciprocity), Georgia, Japan (subject to reciprocity), Montenegro, New Zealand, South Korea (subject to reciprocity), Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; holders of EU or German residence permits; students; those traveling for family reunification or other urgent family reasons; and those providing essential services.

Immigration checks at land borders with neighboring countries are no longer in place.

Travelers arriving at Germany by air must present a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding the plane; however proof of vaccination or previous recovery from COVID-19 may exempt them from this requirement.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most travelers (re)entering Germany are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Most states extend an exemption from the quarantine requirement to EU nationals.

As of June 1, 2021, travelers with proof of vaccination or previous recovery from COVID-19 may be exempt from the mandatory quarantine.

Status of Government Services

Most immigration offices and town halls are only accepting urgent applications.
Some consulates have reopened. Please check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings.

HONG KONG

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All travelers except for Hong Kong residents seeking entry from overseas by plane are banned from entering.

All travelers except for Hong Kong residents seeking entry from Mainland China, Macau SAR or Taiwan who have been overseas in the past 14 days are banned from entering.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Hong Kong (including Hong Kong residents and those arriving from Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan) are subject to a 14-day home quarantine, with very few exceptions.

All travelers without COVID-19 symptoms arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will be tested for COVID-19.

Travelers entering from countries considered high risk must be tested for COVID-19 before arrival and present evidence of a negative result on arrival.

Status of Government Services

All divisions of the Hong Kong Immigration Department are now open and processing all cases. Processing times should now return to normal, with new and renewal visa applications taking 4-6 weeks to be processed.

HUNGARY

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travelers are banned from entering except Hungarian citizens and permanent residents and their family members; Hungarian residence permit holders; nationals of “yellow” countries (Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, China, Japan, and the United States), provided they do not have symptoms; nationals of “red” countries (Albania, Bosnia, Belarus, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, all Asian countries except China and Japan, all African countries, all countries in the Americas except the United States, and all countries in Oceania), provided they do not have symptoms and with exemption authorization from the police for specific purposes only (e.g., medical treatment, family reasons, exams for students); and nationals of “green” countries (all countries not listed above), provided they do not have symptoms. Travelers in transit and some cross-border workers are also allowed to enter.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Beginning May 3, 2021, all foreign national residents of Hungary are eligible to apply for COVID-19 vaccination in Hungary (with or without Hungarian social security). Applicants can apply by filling out this online form.

Travelers arriving from yellow and red countries are subject to health screening (travelers from green countries are not, provided they do not have symptoms). If infection is suspected, Hungarian citizens will be subject to a 14-day quarantine while other travelers may be denied entry. Non-citizens who do not evidence signs of illness will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Travelers from green countries without symptoms are not required to quarantine.

Travelers who can present a medical certificate confirming two negative COVID-19 tests with 48 hours between tests conducted in the five days before entry will be exempt from the quarantine requirement.

Status of Government Services

The Labor office’s customer service section is closed, and in-person status inquiries are not possible.

Most consulates have reopened, based on local conditions.

Concessions

All visas and permits that are due to expire will be automatically extended to 45 days after the end of the state of emergency.

Applications for EU registration and residence permit extensions that usually must be filed in-person can be filed online.

INDIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Effective February 23, 2021, all passengers must comply with the following entry protocol:

Standard Operating Procedures for all international travelers coming to India (Not including UK, Europe, and Middle East): All travelers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel; upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs before departure. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India, before they are allowed to board the flight, that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/ self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted. Arrival in India without a negative report shall be allowed only for those traveling to India in the exigency of death in the family. If they wish to seek such exemption, they shall apply to the online portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) at least 72 hours before boarding. The decision taken by the government as communicated on the online portal will be final. All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

All international travelers coming/transiting through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East: All international travelers coming/transiting from flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East should submit a Self-Declaration Form (SDF) for COVID on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel and will be required to declare their travel history (of past 14 days). Carry a negative RT-PCR Test report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to departure and uploaded it in the Air Suvidha portal. All the travelers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe, or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports. If tested negative, they will remain in home quarantine for 7 days and regularly followed up by the concerned State/District IDSP. These travelers shall again be tested after 7 days and if negative, released from quarantine, and continue to monitor their health for a further 7 days. In case a test report is positive traveller/s to undergo treatment as per standard health protocol.

Japanese and South Korean nationals are temporarily no longer eligible for a visa on arrival.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers arriving from any location outside India are subject to thermal screening carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff. All travelers should home quarantine/self-monitor for 14 days and inform the State/National Call Centres in case they develop symptoms at any time during the quarantine or self-monitoring of their health.

Travelers from Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, testing positive (either at the airport or subsequently during home quarantine period or their contacts who turn positive) shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate (isolation) unit coordinated by the respective State Health Authorities. They would earmark specific facilities for such isolation and treatment and take necessary action to send the positive samples to the concerned Indian Labs. The patient shall be tested on the 7th and 14th day, after having tested positive in the initial test. The patient will be kept in the isolation facility until his sample is tested negative.

All other travelers from Europe and the Middle East (other than those in flights originating from Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom) who have to exit the destination airport or take connecting flights to their final domestic destination: Shall give samples at the designated area and exit the airport; The concerned State authorities/airport operators will collect and convey the test report to the traveler; If the test report is negative, they will be advised to self-monitor their health for 14 days; If the test report is positive, they will undergo treatment as per standard health protocol.

Status of Government Services

As of April 14, 2021, the Indian government has resumed the issuance of e-Business visas, e-Medical visas, e-Medical Attendant Visas, and e-Conference visas.

All other Indian visa services (excluding in-country registration, visa extension, and other in-country services) are suspended until further notice. Those that wish to extend or convert their visa in India may contact the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), which remain operational.
Foreign nationals require an appointment to visit the FRRO or FRO in person.

Concessions

Indian consulates worldwide will extend the deadline to convert PIO cardholders to OCI cards until December 31, 2021.

The FRROs and FROs will be providing critical consular services for foreign nationals that cannot leave India due to travel restrictions. Foreign nationals whose consular visas, electronic visas (e-visas), or authorizations of stay endorsed on the visa expire(d) between February 1 and July 31, 2020, can apply for no-cost extensions online using the e-FRRO portal. Extensions will be granted for 30 days from July 31, 2020. Foreign nationals whose status has expired and who wish to leave India may apply for and be granted an Exit Permit without incurring an overstay penalty.

INDONESIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Domestic travel: Travellers to Bali island by plane are required to show a PCR test with a negative result which is not older than 24 hours before departure and fill in the e-HAC form. Travellers by land and sea transportation are required to show a negative test result certificate using the antigen rapid test which is not older than 24 hours before departure. Travellers to and within Java Island using air, intercity rail transportation and land (public or private) are required to show a negative test result certificate using the antigen rapid test which is not older than 3 x24 hours before being before departure as a trip requirement. In case the result of the antigen rapid test is non-reactive or negative but the traveler shows symptoms, then the traveler is not allowed to continue the trip and is required to carry out a PCR test and self-isolation during the waiting time for the results of the examination.

International travel: Travellers must show at arrival a negative PCR covid-19 test result not older than 24 hours. Travellers will undergo health checks at the airport. Indonesian citizens are required to undergo quarantine at special accommodation provided by the government (Wisma Atlet) and foreigners need to wait at the certified quarantine accommodations at their own expenses (hotels).

ITAS and ITAP holders who are outside of Indonesia and whose stay permits are expired (either ITAP/ITAS or MERP), are allowed to enter Indonesia with the expired permit if the purpose of their entry is family reunification. This permission to enter Indonesia is not considered an automatic stay permit extension–a stay permit extension should be applied for with the relevant authorities by September 8, 2020.

Foreigners can apply for a telex visa for the following business categories: Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV); Work Visa (Limited Stay Visa); Dependent Visa (Family Reunification); Investor Visa; and Retirement Visa. Those who have obtained a telex visa (this can be either a telex visa for a work permit or for a business visa (single or multiple entry)) after 2 April 2020 can obtain their Visit Visa or Stay Visa at the Indonesian embassies abroad. Once the foreigners have obtained their Visit Visa and Stay Visa at the Indonesian embassy abroad, they are able to enter Indonesia using this visa.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Foreign nationals who are allowed to enter are required to present a Negative PCR Covid-19 Certificate in English on arrival. The health certificate must be no more than seven days old. They must also undergo a medical exam at the port of entry that includes an interview, a temperature check, a check for COVID-19 symptoms, an oxygen saturation test, and a Rapid Test for COVID-19. If the foreigners are not able to provide this, then the Health Officer at the Airport will bring the foreigners to the Hospital or Quarantine Facility to perform a PCR test. While waiting the test result (3-5 days), the foreigners must remain in quarantine in one of the special hotels (at own costs) appointed by the officers:

  1. If the result is Negative, the foreigners are allowed to continue to go to their destination city;
  2. If the result is Positive, the foreigners remain in quarantine until the result is Negative

Foreign nationals with a non-reactive Rapid Test will be given health clearance by the Ministry of Health officers in the quarantine facilities, will be issued a Health Alert Card (HAC), may proceed to their destination, and must complete a 14-day self-quarantine. The health clearance is submitted to the representatives of the foreign national’s country in Indonesia to be forwarded to the local regency/city health office for monitoring during the self-quarantine period.

Foreign nationals with a reactive Rapid Test will be subject to a Covid-19 RT-PCR test. If the RT-PCR test result is negative and no disease symptoms or risk factors are found in the medical exam, the foreign national may proceed to their destination and complete a 14-day quarantine. Health clearance is submitted to the representatives of their country as above. If the RT-PCR test result is positive, foreign nationals with comorbidities or symptoms will be referred to a hospital. Foreign nationals without comorbidities or symptoms are subject to quarantine at a quarantine facility.

Travelers (both Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals) are not allowed to arrive at or depart from I Gusti Ngurah Ray Airport in Bali unless they present the results of a negative PCR swab test for COVID-19 that are not more than seven days old. The airlines are required to enforce this requirement. Also, travelers planning to enter Bali must complete the form available at https://cekdiri.baliprov.go.id. Once the form is completed, a QR code is issued, which needs to be presented to the admitting officers at the airport.

Indonesian employers of Mainland Chinese employees are required to file a report with the Ministry of Manpower that includes the names and home countries of their foreign national workers and details on the employer’s actions to halt the spread of the virus, as well as other information. Please contact your immigration professional for further details.

Status of Government Services

The Jakarta Government will go back into lockdown due to rising covid-19 cases. From September 14, 2020, all government and private offices will be closed until further notice.

The Ministry of Manpower has suspended the processing of standard new work permit applications for foreign workers and has only been accepting applications for work permit extensions and new work permit applications for certain national strategic projects.

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) has announced that the Ministry of Manpower will approve new work permit applications from Foreign Investment Companies (PT PMA) that are unrelated to a national strategic project, provided they are accompanied by a recommendation letter from BKPM. To obtain the letter, the company must submit to BKPM the reason for employing the foreign national, information on its investment activities, a plan for employing Indonesian workers, a list of company representatives and foreign workers, and a statement of commitment to complying with the provisions of the COVID-19 health protocol.

The following options are available to document holders in and outside of Indonesia:

  • ITAP holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid ITAP can have an extension processed at the local immigration office. Holders of an expired ITAP must either leave Indonesia before August 20 or apply for a new limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • ITAS holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid ITAS can either have an extension processed or convert their ITAS to ITAP at the local immigration office. Holders of an expired ITAS that cannot be extended must leave Indonesia before August 20.
  • ITAP or ITAS holders who are currently abroad with an expired ITAP or ITAS (with a valid or expired MERP) can either enter Indonesia after obtaining an approval letter from the ministry or technical institution (RPTKA/notification), or, if this is not possible, process a new limited stay visa (VTT) to enter Indonesia. Holders of an expired ITAP or ITAS (with a valid or expired MERP) that is sponsored by their spouse can directly enter Indonesia. An extension of the ITAP/ITAS and MERP must be done before September 8, 2020, which might be extended to December 31 in case of a technical issue during the extension process.
  • Single-Entry Visit Visa holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid visa can extend their visa or convert it to an ITAS at the local immigration office. If the visa is expired and cannot be extended, they must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Multiple-Entry Visit Visa holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired visa 1) must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; 2) can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country; or 3) can convert their visa to an ITAS.
  • APEC Business Travel Card holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired 60-day stay must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the stay can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA) holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired visa that cannot be extended must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Foreign nationals who are currently in Indonesia under a visa exemption must leave Indonesia before 20 August; or they can apply for a new limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Foreign nationals currently in Indonesia who already have a telex visa that was issued after December 1, 2019 can apply for an ITAS or a visit visa in-country.

Concessions

  • Telex Limited Stay Visas (VTT) (which have been issued since January 1, 2020 and which are valid for 60 days) will be automatically extended for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and can be used to pick up the VTT at an Indonesian embassy or consulate once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Note that this only applies to Telex VTTs and not to Telex Single-Entry Business Visas (SEBVs) or Telex Multiple-Entry Business Visas (MEBVs).
  • A VTT that has been issued by an Indonesian embassy or consulate on or after January 1, 2020 but has not been used due to the travel ban will be automatically extended and can be used once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Note that this does not apply to a SEBV or MEBV.
  • SEBV and MEBV holders who have already extended their license may convert their visit permit to a stay permit (ITAS), as long as they meet ITAS requirements. Those sponsored by a company would first need to apply for a work permit.
  • ITAS and ITAP holders who are still in Indonesia and have received an emergency permit because their permit expired can extend their permit or can apply for a telex VTT or a telex MEBV/SEBV online from within Indonesia instead of completing the process at an Indonesian embassy or consulate abroad. Once they have received their telex visa, they can pay the required government fees at the local immigration office.
  • Single Entry Visit Permit holders residing in Indonesia who have received an Emergency Permit because their Single-Entry Visit Permit has expired and who have no means to leave Indonesia have until August 8, 2020 to extend their visit permit or convert their visit permit to a stay permit (ITAS).

Note that the implementation of these concessions may differ by immigration office, so available options must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

IRELAND

Under the current Level 5 restrictions in place in Ireland, only essential travel into the country is permitted. There is an increase in the fixed penalty fine relating to breaches of the non-essential international travel restriction.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All passengers coming into Ireland must:

  • Complete a Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form
  • Provide evidence that they have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test carried out no more than 72 hours before they arrive in Ireland, or have evidence that they are exempt from this legal requirement
  • If you come to Ireland from any country not deemed ‘high risk’ you must quarantine at home provided you have a negative or ‘non detected’ PCR test.
  • If you come to Ireland without a negative or ‘not detected PCR test you must complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine in a hotel

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Quarantine requirements are the following:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals and families with newborn children (28 days or younger) arriving from “Category 2” countries are exempt from the mandatory hotel quarantine.
  • Fully vaccinated requirements are defined by the following conditions:
    • Johnson & Johnson: 14 days after single dose
    • Moderna: 14 days after second dose
    • Pfizer-BioNtech: 7 days after second dose
    • Oxford-AstraZeneca: 15 days after second dose
  • Mandatory quarantine at a designated facility will be required for passengers who arrive in breach of the pre-departure negative/’not detected’ PCR requirement.
  • More information on quarantine requirements can be found here.

Currently as of May 11, 2021, at 4:00 AM (local time): All passengers arriving into Ireland from “High Risk” designated states are required to pre-book accommodation to stay in a designated quarantine facility and pre-pay for their stay. The estimated cost to stay in a designated hotel will be about €1,875 per room, which covers all meals and transfer to/from Airport/Port and security. The cost will additionally cover two COVID-19 tests.

As of May 11, 2021, the following is the current list of “High Risk” countries:

African Countries: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho Malawi, Eswatini, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

South American Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

Other Countries: As of May 4, 2021 – Anguilla, Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Georgia, India, Iran, Italy, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, USA, Canada, Armenia, Bermuda, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Curacao Maldives, Ukraine, Austria, United Arab Emirates.

Travelers must complete a mandatory hotel quarantine if coming from any “High Risk” country, which includes:

  • If you have been in a “High Risk” country at any time in the 14 days prior to arrival in Ireland.
  • If you have traveled through an airport or port in a “High Risk” country
  • For further information on mandatory hotel quarantine, please visit this link.

Status of Government Service

The Irish authorities have resumed limited visa processing services in some locations. Applicants can still apply for a visa online but may not be able to complete the process by submitting their supporting documents to the Irish embassy or consulate. Applications started online can be completed whenever regular processing resumes. Certain high-priority cases will continue to be processed including emergency visas (e.g. for healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals), and visas for the immediate family members of Irish citizens, legal residents, and EU nationals practicing free movement in Ireland. The Visa Processing Centres that have reopened will process these applications as well as Long-stay D visa applications. Short-stay visas for non-essential travel are not being issued.

Some of the Visa Processing Centres that are open are those in Hong Kong, London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Moscow, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, as well as the centers in China, Turkey, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Many of the centers in India reopened on July 6, 2020. The Irish consulate in Manila has reopened as has the Irish Embassy in Singapore. Please check with the center, embassy, or consulate you wish to use for its status and service offerings. Note that some Visa Processing Centres have introduced new local process modifications primarily to address their application backlog.

The Burgh Quay Registration Office is scheduled to reopen fur Dublin-based applicants on May 10, 2021.

Strict social distancing measures are in place for all appointments taking place on, or after August 24, 2020, in Burgh Quay and registration offices nationwide.

The Garda Naturalisation, which processes registration applications for non-EEA nationals located outside of Dublin, reopened on August 24, 2020. Appointments that were due to take place between 9-21 August 2020 in these offices will be rescheduled.

Immigration permission renewals for Dublin residents, which have been processed online since 20 July 2020 at inisonline.jahs.ie, will continue to be accepted.
Employment permit applications are being processed as usual.

The Department of Justice and Equality has issued a set of FAQs on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration service delivery.

Concessions

As of May 20, 2021, visa applications will now be accepted for essential family reunification.

Applications are also being accepted from people who have been granted an employment permit and are traveling for essential business or employment purposes.

The requirement for new arrivals to register their residence permissions is waived, as most immigration offices are still closed.

The DBEI has introduced contingency arrangements to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DBEI will be flexible in dealing with employment permit issues that arise for both employers and employees as a result of the pandemic.
Some of the highlights include:

  • Issuance of an electronic version of an employment permit together with a letter from the DBEI which can be presented to immigration officials until employment permit operations return to normal;
  • DBEI acceptance of online new and renewal applications for the Trusted Partner scheme without the requirement to provide a hard copy of the application form within 10 days;
  • A temporary waiver of the requirement to return the original or certified copy of the
  • Employment Permit within four weeks of employment termination; and
  • Permission for employment permit holders to work remotely from home in Ireland provided the employer submits a single notification to the DBEI indicating that its employees are doing so.

While Immigration Service Delivery offices are closed, first-time registration applicants for Irish Residence Permissions may use an email registration process. The process is available to non-EEA nationals currently in Ireland and to those planning to arrive in Ireland soon. Initial registration applicants should email their applications and all supporting documents to bqregofficeapplications@justice.ie. The process can be used for Stamp 1, Stamp 1A, Stamp 1G, Stamp 2, and Stamp 4 permissions. An approval letter confirming residency permission will be issued for approved applications. Applicants must appear in person at a registration office once offices have reopened. Appointments that were canceled due to office closures will be rescheduled automatically

ISRAEL

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Beginning May 3, 2021, Israel’s Ministry of Health announced temporary travel bans from the following countries: Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico, and Turkey. Israeli citizens traveling from these countries must undergo mandatory isolation for the period set by the Ministry of Health.

Effective March 07, 2021, Ben Gurion International airport will reopen. Flights coming from the US, Germany, France, and Ukraine will be the first to be allowed entry.

Tourists are not allowed into Israel as a general rule unless they are in compliance with the exceptions specified by the Ministry of Interior.

Entry for Urgent Business Meetings: Requires special permission from the Ministry of Interior to enter Israel.

Entry for Work (Foreign Experts): The Work Permit Unit will start re-issuing work permits.
Upon obtaining the permit, the Foreign Experts will be required to obtain a special entry permit from the Ministry of Interior, which will be provided on a limited basis.

Israeli nationals will no longer require a special permit to enter the country.

No restrictions on departures for Israelis who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. Those who are not vaccinated will still be required to apply for permission to leave the country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Beginning May 3, 2021, any person traveling to Israel from Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa, India, Mexico, or Turkey must quarantine upon entry, even if they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. The mandatory quarantine period is 14 days, which may be shortened to 10 days if both COVID-19 tests, one immediately after arrival and one on the 9th day after arrival, return negative.

All other travelers arriving will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours prior to departure. A second test will also be required upon arrival. All incoming passengers must comply with COVID-19 testing requirements including those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. All foreign nationals entering Israel must also present evidence of health insurance coverage for COVID-19. Isolation required for 14 days from arrival. The isolation period may be reduced to 10 days by showing negative results on two COVID-19 tests. The first test should be taken as soon as possible after arrival, and the second test on the 9th day.

All Israel citizens that have completed both Covid-19 vaccinations will be given a “green passport” available on a government developed app where the user will fill out his personal details and will receive a “pass” authorization displaying the pass on a smartphone, as well as an ID, will be required. Post-vaccination: A COVID –19 test is required upon entering Israel, however, if the test is negative, isolation will not be required. Pre-vaccination: A COVID –19 test upon entering Israel is required. Plans are being put in place to require a deposit be made on a “tracking kit” (such as an electronic bracelet or SMS digital phone tracking software), to ensure that people isolate themselves at home. If no consent is given to the tracking kit, the person will be required to be isolated in a state-run isolation facility.
The Israeli Health Ministry announced a grace period allowing Israelis travelling from “Green Locations” to eliminate the quarantine requirement. Green countries include: UAE, Seychelles Islands, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Uruguay.

The list of Green Locations will be updated from time to time, and can be found at the Ministry of Health website.

Concessions

All subcategories of work visas for experts (e.g., one-year visas and Hi-Tech 365 visas), as well as work visas that typically cannot be extended (i.e., the 90-day STEP visa, the 90-day Hi-Tech visa (HIT 90) and the 45-day SEA), also qualify for the extension. Employers of foreign nationals who plan to stay in Israel beyond the automatic extension period are advised to file an extension application as soon as possible.

ITALY

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put in place an online questionnaire to answer all basic travel and quarantine questions travelers might have.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put in place an online questionnaire to answer all basic travel and quarantine questions travelers might have.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

From April 27 until at least May 12, 2021, travelers from India, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka are banned from entering Italy. Exceptions will only be made for Italian citizens and residents who had residential status prior to April 25, 2021, and for those who need to reach the residence of their spouse or dependent children.

Effective April 19 and until further notice, travelers from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand will now be allowed to travel to Italy and will be subject to the same requirements as arrivals from other countries on “List C.”

These travelers will be required to:

  • Take a COVID-19 test (with a negative result) within 48 hours prior to arrival
  • Notify local health authority of arrival and self-isolate for 5 days
  • Take a second COVID-19 test at the end of the five-day quarantine period

As of April 22, 2021, any traveler entering Italy from Brazil must provide a negative COVID-19 molecular or swab test within 48 hours prior to entering Italy, then take another molecular or swab test upon arrival in Italy, then quarantine and undergo health surveillance for 10 days, and then take another molecular or swab test after their 10-day quarantine.

The complete set of rules that apply and updates will be soon published on the Ministry of Foreign affairs website at the following link.

Entry to Italy from any non-EU country is limited to: work, health care, study or other urgent needs, or travelers with an essential function or need (e.g., healthcare professionals, transport personnel, diplomats and staff of international organizations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers, passengers in transit, those traveling for urgent family purposes).

Travelers are subject to completing a self-declaration and to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

As of May 19, 2021, all travelers entering Italy must self-isolate for 10 days after arrival except for transport crew members, cross border workers, health personnel traveling for work, diplomats and other officials of international organizations.

Travelers from the U.K., Israel, and the Schengen Area must undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival unless they present a negative PCR or antigenic test conducted within 48 hours of arrival.

Travelers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and the US may enter Italy for tourism purposes or without an approved reason, but are required to provide a negative PCR or antigenic test within 72 hours of arrival. These travelers are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival regardless of test results.

Status of Government Services

Effective January 1st, 2021, British citizens and their family members residing in Italy must apply for a residence permit in electronic format at the Police headquarters (Questura) having jurisdiction over their place of residency in Italy.

The document will be valid for 5 years (or 10 years if the applicant has acquired the right of permanent residence after 5 years of legal and continuous stay). To apply for the document, it is necessary to book an appointment with the relevant police office and submit the “Attestazione di iscrizione Anagrafica” previously obtained from the City Council of residency.

Most police departments and immigration offices in Italy are closed until further notice. The processing of immigration applications that require a personal appearance at such offices will be delayed.

Most Italian consulates abroad and Italian town halls have temporarily suspended in-person services. Please contact the relevant consulate or town hall directly to confirm their service offerings.

Concessions

The validity of residence permits (permessi di soggiorno) and nulla Osta (entry clearances for family reasons and work permits) has been extended to July 31th, 2021.

Identity documents that expired on or before January 31, 202, have been extended until September 30, 2021.

Foreign nationals who are in Italy as visitors, who cannot safely return to their home country, and whose authorized stay in Italy has expired or will soon expire can apply for an extension of their Schengen visa or stay, or can apply for a temporary residence permit for “calamity” reasons. This permit is valid for six months, can be extended for six months, and permits the holder to work.

JAPAN

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

On May 18, 2021, the Government of Japan announced that foreign nationals
entering Japan with re-entry permit (including a special re-entry permit) will be
subject to denial of landing if the foreign nationals hold the records for staying
in Maldives and Bangladesh within 14 days before the day of application for
landing.

Foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued in Hubei or Zhejiang province or who have been in or transited through one of the following countries in the 14 days before seeking entry to Japan will not be permitted to enter:

  • Asia Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
  • Americas: Canada, United States, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, Vatican
  • Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
  • Africa: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome, and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan

Special Permanent Residents are entirely exempt from the entry ban and will be allowed to re-enter Japan from any country.

Foreign nationals who are Permanent Residents, the spouse or child of a Japanese citizen or Permanent Resident, or Long-Term Residents may exceptionally be able to re-enter Japan after having been in one of the above countries depending on their date of departure from Japan and the countries they visited while abroad. For further information, please refer to this site or consult your immigration professional.

Visas issued by Japanese consulates in the following countries by the following dates are deemed invalid:

  • Visas issued on or before March 8, 2020, in: China (including Hong Kong and Macao) and South Korea
  • Visas issued on or before March 20, 2020, in: Iran, Egypt, Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Vatican, France, Belgium, Portugal, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Iceland, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Rumania, UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic
    Visas issued on or before March 27, 2020, in: Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Israel, Qatar, Bahrain, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Visas issued on or before April 2, 2020, in:
    • Asia Pacific: Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Eastern Timor, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Nauru, Niue, Banu Atsu, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, Marshall, Micronesia
    • Latin America: Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guyana, Cuba, Guatemala, Grenada, Costa Rica, Columbia, Jamaica, Surinam, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Haiti, Bahamas, Paraguay, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Belize, Peru, Honduras, Mexico
    • Europe: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Russia
    • Middle East: Afghanistan, UAE, Yemen, Iraqi, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon
    • Africa: Algeria, Angora, Uganda, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Eretria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Gabon, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome, and Principe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Chad, Central Africa, Tunisia, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, South Africa, South Sudan, Mozambique, Mauritania, Libya, Liberia, Rwanda, Lesotho

Nationals of the following countries are no longer eligible for a visa exemption:

Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, India, Bangladesh, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau
Latin America: Argentina, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Surinam, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Paraguay, Barbados, Peru, Honduras, Mexico
Europe: Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Vatican, France, Belgium, Portugal, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Iceland, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Russia
Middle East: Israel, Iran, Qatar, UAE, Oman
Africa: Tunisia, Lesotho

Flights from China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and South Korea are only allowed to land at Narita and Kansai airports.

The number of flights to Japan is being limited to control the number of travelers that arrive in the country.

As of March 26, 2021, foreign nationals under the “Business Track” or “Residence Track” are no longer permitted entry as these two frameworks have been suspended until further notice.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers (including Japanese nationals) entering Japan from any of the countries on the entry ban list (first list) above will be subject to COVID-19 PCR testing on arrival.

All travelers (including Japanese nationals) arriving in Japan will be subject to quarantine for 14 days and must avoid using public transportation.

Concessions

Certificates of Eligibility (COEs) issued between October 1, 2019, and January 30, 2021, will be considered valid for six months from the date that entry restrictions are lifted or until April 30, 2021, whichever is earlier.

KENYA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All international flights into and out of Kenya are cancelled.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Kenyan citizens and residence permit holders must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return to Kenya.

Status of Government Services

Renewals: File the necessary renewal applications and pay the requisite renewal fee together with the additional late renewal fee within thirty (30) days from 15th February 2021, the latest by 14th March 2021. Failure to file the renewal on time will result in the removal from the Register.

 

There will be limited immigration services until further notice.

The Director General of Immigration asked those Foreign nationals whose documents will expire during the period of limited services to make arrangements to leave the country within 14 days, alternatively they are to apply for permits to regularize their status. Failure to depart from Kenya or to regularize one’s stay will amount to contravention of the Citizenship and Immigration Act (2011), which is an offence.

Concessions

Foreign nationals whose documents will expire during the period of limited services can apply for extensions online at https://fns.immigration.go.ke/.

LUXEMBOURG

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Luxembourg has banned most non-residents from entering. Allowed to enter are the family members of Luxembourg citizens and residents; nationals of EU/Schengen countries, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City and their family members; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, China (subject to reciprocity), Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; holders of temporary residence permits for employment or dependents; cross-border workers and those providing essential services; travelers transiting to another country; and others whose entry to the country is essential.

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings.

Status of Government Services

Documents must be submitted to the Immigration Directorate by mail; in-person submission is no longer allowed.

The immigration authorities have resumed accepting and processing applications for work or residence permission for new, pending and extension applications. Applicants should expect processing delays due to the application backlog.

Some consulates have reopened but the services provided vary. Please check with your local consulate for their status and service offerings.

Concessions

Foreign nationals with visas or temporary residence permits/cards that expired on or after March 1, 2020, as well as visa-waived nationals who have surpassed their maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period on or after March 1, will automatically be considered to be maintaining their status until further notice.

MALAYSIA

Effective June 1, 2021, Malaysia is once again under the Movement Control Order until June 14, 2021. This means the following conditions will be in effect:

  • The ban on inter-state and inter-district travel remains, among other social restrictions.Immigration Unit office will be closed; all appointments during this period will be canceled; new appointments must be made after June 14
  • Online applications can still be submitted
  • Private sector companies will operate with 60% capacity at the office and 40% to work from home (WFH)
  • Govt. offices will operate with 20% capacity at the office and 80% to work from home (WFH)
  • Public transportation reduced to 50% capacity
  • All business operations limited between 8am-8pm.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Effective April 28, 2021, Malaysia will ban all flights to and from India until further notice. Under this new ordinance, the following are banned from entering Malaysia:

Travelers coming from India, travelers who have traveled through India in the past 14 days, travelers coming from India who want to transit through Malaysia en route to a third country, ships with a voyage history of being in India in the last 14 days, holders of the Temporary Employment Visit Pass, international students, and business travelers.

Only Malaysian citizens, spouses of Malaysian citizens, and Malaysian religious groups stranded in India are currently allowed entry to Malaysia but will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The following cannot enter Malaysia during the RMCO period: All foreign visitors (e.g., tourists, business visitors).

The following can enter Malaysia during the RMCO period: Malaysian citizens and Permanent Residence (PR) holders; the spouses and children of Malaysian citizens, as long as they are holding a valid Long Term Social Visit Pass and can present evidence of the relationship; foreign diplomats to return to their positions at the relevant Embassies / Consulates / High Commissions; the spouses and children of foreign diplomats if they hold a valid Dependent Pass; Pass holders; and foreign nationals providing essential services.
Long Term pass holders from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will not be allowed to enter Malaysia. These include those holding permanent resident status, MM2H pass holders, expatriates, and professional visit pass holders, spouses of Malaysian citizens, and students. The same restrictions may apply to other countries depending on Covid-19 spikes.
Qualifying travelers may enter Malaysia provided they obtain a Travel Notice from their nearest Malaysian consulate or embassy before departing. The request for a Travel Notice must be submitted by email (email addresses of the Malaysian missions can be found here) at least three days before departure for Malaysia. The application must include a Letter of Undertaking (LOU) certifying that the traveler will bear the costs of the mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility (see next section for more information), a copy of the passport bio page, and the page with the Pass (if applicable), a copy of the flight booking, and any other documents deemed relevant. Once received, the traveler should print multiple copies of the Travel Notice, as it must be presented to the airline as well as upon arrival in Malaysia.

Holders of an Employment Pass Category I (EPI) and their dependents as well as holders of a Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) and their dependents may generally enter without further approval, including those with an active pass who departed Malaysia before July 11, 2020, or who have been stranded abroad, and those with a newly approved pass. However, if they have an expired pass, they require prior approval from the Director General of Malaysia’s Immigration Department in addition to the Travel Notice (see next paragraph for the process).

Expired pass holders should also apply for a new pass.

Other foreign nationals with valid passes (EP II holders and their dependents, as well as EP III, Professional Visit Pass (PVP), and Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) holders) who wish to initially enter or re-enter Malaysia may do so provided they obtain an “Entry Approval Letter” from the Director General of Malaysia’s Immigration Department in addition to the Travel Notice. The employer must first obtain a support letter from the Approving Agency for its industry (ESD, MDEC, or MIDA) and then email it to pbf@imi.gov.my with a request for entry approval for the foreign employee. If the request is approved the Director General of Immigration will issue an Entry Approval Letter within seven days. No response within that timeframe will constitute a denial of the request. The foreign employee (and any dependents) must present the letter at the port of entry. Please contact your immigration professional for more information.

Transit through Kuala Lumpur International Airport is allowed as long as the traveler is not required to pass through the immigration checkpoint.

The following cannot exit Malaysia during the RMCO period: Malaysian citizens and PR holders, including citizens who hold work permits in Singapore and Thailand and who commute daily by land.

The following can exit Malaysia during the RMCO period: Malaysian citizens and PR holders who have valid long-term authorization (work, residence, etc.) in a third country and who wish to travel to the third country may do so. They must present documentary evidence at the immigration checkpoint on departure. Also allowed to exit are Malaysian diplomats to return to their positions at the relevant Embassies / Consulates / High Commissions overseas, and all other foreign nationals.

All pass holders who wish to exit and return to Malaysia must obtain Permission to Exit & Return from the Director General of the Immigration Department. Once exited, they must return within 60 days. All who want to exit Malaysia permanently must cancel their pass or obtain a Special Pass, as required.

Interstate travel in Malaysia is again allowed under the RMCO.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

As of March 30, 2021, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has declared that based on certain risk assessment factors, travelers who are fully vaccinated can make attempts to apply for exemption of quarantine at quarantine stations or permission to quarantine at their place of residence.

Applications can be sent via email to:
pengecualicovid@moh.gov.my;
hso@moh.gov.my;
cprc@moh.gov.my

The MOH has not yet indicated the exact documents required for the application, but the minimum criteria to be eligible are:

  • Travelers must have been fully vaccinated for at least 2 weeks upon arrival and must have documented evidence of vaccination (vaccination certification from the health department of the departing country).
  • Travelers must come from a low-risk country (MOH has not yet indicated how this is determined).
  • Travelers must show proof of a suitable residential place to quarantine (specifics of conditions/requirements have not yet been determined).
  • Travelers must have proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 Test no more than 3 days old from the time the test was taken.

Applicants are advised to submit the following documents as part of their application:

  • Proof of an official Vaccine CertificateAny documents/information showing they are traveling from a low-risk country
  • Any documents/information showing they have a suitable residential place to quarantine
  • Passport Bio page
  • Flight ticket
  • Any existing Pass or Approval Letters
  • Any other supporting documents deemed necessary

Otherwise, at this time all foreigners entering the country must pay for the cost of Quarantine and Covid-19 test before traveling. This is mandatory. Payment must be made via the MySafe Travel website at https://safetravel.myeg.com.my

As of May 24, 2021, travelers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal must quarantine for 21 days upon arrival.

All travelers from other will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, not the previous 10-day quarantine. Travelers must also take the RT-PCR test no more than 72 hours before arrival.

All arriving travelers, including Malaysian citizens, must undergo health screening upon arrival, including a COVID-19 PCR test. All travelers will also be subject to quarantine for 10 days at a facility designated by the government, except for EP I and RP-T holders and their dependents who are nationals of and arriving from a “green zone” country (currently Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, and Singapore), and PVP holders arriving for emergency work, who are exempt from the quarantine requirement. All travelers subject to quarantine must sign a Letter of Undertaking and Indemnity (LOU) to guarantee that they will pay quarantine costs (at a maximum rate of RM150 per day per person). The LOU must be presented upon arrival. No domestic transits are allowed until the 14-day quarantine is completed.

All travelers must also download the MySejahtera application (which allows the Ministry of Health to monitor their health) before arrival.

Foreign nationals who do not abide by the requirements of the RMCO may be arrested and have their passes canceled.

Foreign nationals with pending work permit applications who have entered Malaysia as a social visitor should be sure not to engage in any form of employment until their work permit application has been approved. If the approval comes while they are in Malaysia as a social visitor during or after the MCO, they must exit Malaysia and re-enter to obtain the endorsement when they are permitted to re-enter.

MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) has announced that certain holders of expired or soon-to-expire passes will need to apply for a Special Pass. The requirements and procedures differ slightly between the main eXpats’ Service Center in Cyberjaya and the eXpats Service Center Northern Branch in Penang. Companies are advised to prepare the Special Pass paperwork (where required) before making online appointments at expats.com.my. Please consult with your immigration professional for complete information.

All auto gates and e-gates used for immigration clearance at Malaysian airports remain closed until further notice.

Status of Government Services

Destination Services Program will be resumed from March 07, 2021.
Appointments are required for counter transactions for all divisions except the Security & Passport Division. All appointments for immigration counter services (except at the Visa, Pass & Permit Division and ESD) must be made online at www.sto.imi.gov.my.

Appointments for all transactions related to passes must be made through the ESD online portal at https://esd.imi.gov.my. Appointments for Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T) holders must be made through the RP-T portal at https://rpt.talentcorp.com.my. Those attending appointments must comply with strict safety and social distancing requirements. For more information on making and attending ESD or RP-T appointments, including a detailed FAQ document, read this letter on the ESD website.

Online appointments can now be made for MDEC, which processes applications under eXpats for IT companies, for counter visits. This is applicable for all expatriate/dependent applications for IT companies. All appointments must be made online at https://expats.com.my/contact or https://www.mtep.my for MTEP (Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Program). The hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except 1.00 p.m. to 1.30 pm. Monday through Thursday and 12:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Friday when the office is closed. MDEC has issued a set of FAQs for more information.

Walk-ins to the Immigration Department and related authorities are prohibited.
Appointments must be made for submissions, collections, and any other transactions.
The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and its Immigration Unit have reopened.

Renewal applications and Work Permit applications for change in employers/change of position can be submitted for applicants currently in Malaysia. New pass applications (EP, DP, PVP, etc.) are still on hold.

Concessions

Those with work permits expiring during the MCO/CMCO and whose employers have not yet filed a work permit renewal application can remain in Malaysia, but their employer must submit the renewal application to the immigration authorities within 14 days of the end of the CMCO.

MEXICO

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Mexico has not implemented any entry restrictions related to COVID-19; however, the US has banned all “non-essential” travel across its land border with Mexico.. “Non-essential” travel is considered travel for tourism or recreational purposes, including sightseeing, gambling and attending cultural events. While business travel is still permitted, business travelers may be subject to additional screening.

Status of Government Services

The National Immigration Institute has officially announced the reopening of its offices in Mexico City and Toluca as of February 15 2021. The terms for temporary and permanent resident’s processes are still suspended.

Regarding the Local Registry process (“Canje”), the immigration authorities in Toluca and Mexico City will admit and resolve all the processes until March 31, 2021, regardless the Immigration Multiple Form (FMM) has expired in the period of 18 December, 2020 to February 22, 2021.

 

Foreigners who have a pending resolution process traveling internationally must request an exit/entry permit. In case foreigners need to leave the country on the days that the National Immigration Institute will be closed, the exit/entry permits must be processed at the Airport. Where it may or may not be issued, this may be discretional. In case of not having an exit/entry permit, foreigners must do a final departure process. Which implies, the resignation of the immigration process and loss of the years of residence in Mexico.

 

The services of some Mexican embassies and consulates are suspended. The suspension may last longer in countries where government closures due to the pandemic remain in place. Applicants should check directly with the embassy or consulate they intend to use for its status and service offerings.

The INM and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are providing reduced services and processing delays should be expected.

Concessions

Deadlines have been suspended for all applications filed with the National Immigration Institute (INM) for temporary and permanent residence status holders.

NETHERLANDS

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of January 23, 2021, Netherlands will ban flights and ferries from the United Kingdom, and passenger flights from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The flight ban is expected to be in force for one month or until planned legislation on mandatory quarantine rules for travelers is in place.

The following are allowed to enter the Netherlands: 

  • EU/Schengen nationals and their family members
  • Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City
  • Third country (non-EU) nationals holding a Dutch residence card or residence permit
  • Holders of a long-stay visa (MVV)
  • EU Blue Cards or EU ICT permits and other Dutch permit holders traveling from any country
  • Third country nationals with a right of residence in another EU member state
  • Travelers transiting through the Netherlands
  • Travelers providing an essential service (e.g., healthcare workers, cross-border workers, transporters of essential goods, diplomats, employees of humanitarian organizations, etc.)
  • Residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and China (China is included only if China reciprocally admits EU residents)

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Non-EU nationals who are eligible to enter the Netherlands may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry.

Holders of short-term work permits must notify the Labor Authority (UWV) if they do not work for four weeks, even if because of travel restrictions.

Employers whose new foreign national workers will not enter the Netherlands, and employers whose foreign workers’ pay has been reduced to below the required level, must inform the Immigration Authority within four weeks.

Status of Government Services

The Immigration Authority (IND) is still providing reduced services but has resumed offering limited in-person desk services.

Some Dutch embassies and consulates have reopened and are processing MVVs for certain categories of applicants. Provided the embassy or consulate is open and allowing applicants to enter, the following categories of applicants can (re)schedule an appointment to obtain an MVV:

  • Family members of Dutch citizens with an MVV approval for the purpose of stay “family”;
  • Those with an expired MVV sticker in their passport because they were not able to travel within the 90-day validity period due to COVID-19 restrictions; and
  • Those whose application for a regular MVV was approved by the IND and who had an appointment at the embassy/consulate to collect their MVV sticker but whose appointment was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) in Amsterdam has postponed all appointments until further notice.

Some town halls may be providing urgent services only and some Expat centers are closed.

Concessions

Employers do not need to inform the IND if their foreign national employees are working from home.

Foreign nationals who are unable to enter the Netherlands during their MVV validity period may request that the IND issue a new visa when processing of MVVs resumes. Consular posts may extend the pick-up deadline for foreign nationals who are unable to pick up their MVV within three months of approval.

Foreign nationals who cannot collect their MVV within three months of the notice of approval due to consulate closures can make a new appointment once the consulates reopen. If the appointment does not occur within 180 days of the notice of approval, the MVV will still be issued on the basis of the initial notice of approval.

Foreign nationals who have a work permit approval letter but cannot obtain the required endorsement sticker or biometric residence card may be able to work on the basis of their approval letter alone.

Foreign national visitors in the Netherlands who are unable to return to their country of citizenship or residence and who hold Schengen visas that have expired or will expire within a month may be eligible for an extension of stay. Such foreign nationals should call the Immigration and Naturalization Service information line (088 04 30430) for assistance. Visa-waived visitors are not eligible for extensions beyond their Schengen stay limit (90 days in a 180-day period) but the immigration service has stated it will be less strict in dealing with such individuals who overstay if they genuinely are unable to leave the Netherlands. Such visitors should keep evidence of their inability to leave the country for presentation on departure. Entry bans of one to two years may be imposed if the border officials deem that the overstay is not excusable.

NEW ZEALAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

New Zealand has closed its borders to all travelers except New Zealand citizens and residents. Exceptions may be made for other travelers (e.g., family members of New Zealand residents or citizens, those providing essential healthcare or other essential services, Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand, diplomats, and “other essential workers”) who can apply for an exception on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website. Note that it may be difficult to obtain an exception.

The exception for other essential workers may be available to workers on short assignments of less than six months or longer assignments. For short assignments, the assignment must be time-critical, and the worker must have a unique skill that is not available in New Zealand or must be engaged in a major event or infrastructure project, a government-sanctioned program, or another activity that significantly benefits the economy. For longer assignments, the worker must meet one of the two short-term assignment criteria and must either earn double the median salary (~NZD 106,000) or be filling a position that is necessary for the delivery of a government-supported program or event, or another project of major significance to New Zealand.

As of October 2020, Partners and dependents of New Zealand residents or citizens, who hold an Australian passport, or a Visa waiver country will be eligible for a border exception. Temporary Work Visa Holders normally resident in New Zealand that have departed on or after December 01, 2019, have lived in NZ for at least 2 years, and are returning to the same job or continue to run a business as part of their entrepreneur work visa will be eligible for a border exception. (This option does not apply for individuals who have resigned or were made redundant.) Applicants must hold either a work to residence or essential skills visa (mid-skilled or higher) which will not expire before January 1, 2021. If the essential skills work visa is expiring before the end of 2020, the visa holder must have applied for a new visa to remain in the same job when they left, and before August 09, 2020.

Transit through New Zealand is prohibited except for Australian citizens or residents and their immediate family members with a final destination of Australia, and New Zealand citizens or residents and their immediate family members who usually reside in Australia.

As of April 8, 2021, the New Zealand government has temporarily banned all travel from India into the country. This ban will remain in place until April 28, 2021.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Anyone who is admitted to New Zealand is subject to isolation for 14 days after arrival; however, they will not be allowed to complete their isolation period at home. Arrivals assessed to be high-risk for COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine facilities, while all other arrivals will be placed in managed isolation facilities.

The validity period of low-paid essential skills work visas will be reduced from 12 months to six months for applications received on or after July 10, 2020 and for the following 18 months.

Status of Government Services

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has suspended the processing of most offshore visa applications until May 2021. Applications can still be submitted through the INZ online portal to secure a place when processing resumes.

Application types that will not be impacted by the above include: Individuals that have been granted one of the limited exceptions to the border closer; Relationship-based visas for dependents of NZ citizens or residents; Visas for diplomats, consular and official staff and their dependents; Antarctica work traveler visitor visas; and Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) limited visas.

INZ has resumed processing residence and temporary entry visa applications for foreign nationals already in New Zealand. Specifically, for residence visas, first priority will be given to those in New Zealand with a job offer who earn at least twice the median hourly wage (currently NZD 51/hour) and who hold a current occupational registration, where this is required. For temporary entry visas, first priority will be given to applications for essential work to support the government’s response to COVID-19; applications involving an urgent humanitarian need; applications for travel under the APEC travel program; diplomatic visa applications; and all other temporary entry visa applications for applicants already in the country.

Concessions

Visitor visas have been extended by two months from the expiry date for those who were in New Zealand on 19 February 2021; and Hold a temporary general visitor visa that expires between 19 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. The extension is automatic. There is no application form or fee. COVID-19 short-term visitor visas will not be extended. Updated expiration dates can be found on the Visa Verification Service website, after March 05, 2021. Those who wish to remain in New Zealand for longer will need to apply for another visa before the current visa expires.

Temporary visa holders, <with the exemption of Critical purpose visa holders; Guardians of students; and partners or dependents linked to a work visa holder whose visa was previously extended>, whose visas expired between September 4 and the end of October 2020 will be granted an automatic visa extension by five months. All such visa holders will receive an extension email. Temporary workers whose visas expire between January 2021 to 30 June 2021 will have their visas automatically extended by six months. This includes: Essential skills work visa; Work to residence visa; Special and Skilled work visas for China, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam; Special category work visas for Japanese Interpreters and Thai Chefs; Employer-specific work visas granted under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009; Fishing crew visa; Religious worker visa; Silver Fern practical experience visa. Partners and dependent children of eligible work visa holders will also have their visas extended.

There will be a delay in the stand-down period for low-skilled workers who hold essential skills work visas. This means that lower-skilled foreign workers who were subject to a stand-down period between August and December 31, 2020 are now able to stay in NZ for six months beyond the time their stand-down would have taken effect.

The government has relaxed rules for certain foreign nationals providing essential services. For as long as New Zealand remains at lockdown level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after the lockdown period ends, temporary visa holders providing essential services may change their hours or fill other positions at their worksites, and students working in essential services may work more than 20 hours per week as long as they maintain their studies.

Applicants in the Skilled Migrant (SMC) and Investor 2 residence categories who were invited to apply between November 1, 2019 and April 15, 2020 now have 10 months from the date they were invited to apply to submit their applications, up from the usual four months.

Applicants who received a Request for Information now have a total of 10 business days to respond.

NORWAY

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of May 27, 2021, all foreign nationals are banned from entering except residents of Norway (plus dependent family members), Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and some parts of Finland.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

People who have been to areas with a high rate of infection must stay at a quarantine hotel, regardless of the purpose of the trip. Exemptions from the entry restrictions are introduced for foreign nationals who reside in areas that are not subject to the duty to quarantine in Norway.

The following groups must stay at a quarantine hotel from Thursday 27 May 2021:

  • In principle, people who have traveled outside Europe must stay at a quarantine hotel for the entire quarantine period until a negative test result is produced after no less than 7 days.
  • Travelers from European countries that have less than 150 new cases of COVID-19 per 100 000 people in the last 14 days and where no more than 4 per cent of people tested have a positive test result, do not have to stay at a quarantine hotel. They must complete quarantine at home or at another suitable place of quarantine.
  • Travelers from the UK and countries in the EEA/Schengen area with more than 150 new cases of COVID-19 per 100 000 people must stay at a quarantine hotel until they have a negative result from a test taken no sooner than 3 days after arrival. They must complete quarantine at home or at another suitable place of quarantine and can end quarantine early following a negative test taken no sooner than 7 days after arrival.
  • Travelers from European countries with a very high rate of infection must stay at a quarantine hotel until they have a negative result from a test taken no sooner than 7 days after arrival. There will be more information about this group later.

Exemptions on compelling compassionate grounds will stay in effect. The Norwegian Government will introduce a dispensation programme for this group which will allow them to apply for exemption from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel and receive the decision before they arrive at the border.

Exemptions will also be made for maritime personnel who have been to countries outside the EEA/Schengen area and the UK who are meant to sign on in Norway. Maritime personnel must still stay at a quarantine hotel after returning to Norway but can complete the quarantine on board the ship before signing on for service.

These changes will enter into effect May 21, 2021.

Status of Government Services

Immigration offices at local police stations have reopened but are only providing limited services. Some have begun accepting appointments.

Service Centers for Foreign Workers (SUAs) have reopened.

Norwegian consulates are beginning to reopen.

Concessions

Those in Norway with a work permit that has not been activated can work as long as they have scheduled a permit activation appointment with the police.

PERU

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Foreign national travelers from Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom will not be permitted to enter Peru until April 11, 2021. Any non-Peruvian citizen or permanent resident who has traveled through or been present in any of these three countries within 14 days prior to traveling to Peru will not be permitted entry into the country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Peru will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in accommodation designated by the government.

Status of Government Services

Consular visa applications are not being processed.

On June 3, 2020, the National Superintendence of Immigration will begin processing applications already in its queue and will introduce online systems for the filing of various applications.

Concessions

Foreign nationals whose status expires/expired on or after March 16, 2020 will have until 45 days after the lifting of the state of emergency and the resumption of government operations to regularize their status without incurring penalties.

PHILIPPINES

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of May 15, 2021, all travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, or the UAE or those with travel history in any of these countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival, are banned from entering the Philippines until further notice.

Filipino citizens, including those with an Identification Certificate, are allowed to enter the country but are required to undergo a mandatory facility-based quarantine for 14 days.

The following foreign nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines: Those with valid and existing visas at the time of entry, and who were not permitted to enter the country under previous IATF resolutions; Holders of valid and existing Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV) and Section 9(A) visas, provided they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival.

Immigrants must present a valid Re-entry Permit or validly extended Re-entry Permit unless otherwise exempted. Failure to present a valid Re-entry Permit or validly extended Re-entry Permit shall be a ground for exclusion and the Immigrant shall board the next available flight.

Non-Immigrants must present a valid Special Return Certificate or validly extended Special Return Certificate unless otherwise exempted. Failure to present a valid Special Return Certificate or validly extended Special Return Certificate shall be a ground for exclusion and the Non-Immigrant shall board the next available flight.

All foreign nationals (except for Section 9(e) visa holders shall present a pre-booked accommodation for at least six (6) nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility at the immigration counter for the initial check. Those who fail to present a pre-booked accommodation shall be denied entry and shall be boarded immediately in the next available flight.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is considering requests for exemption from the travel ban for foreign nationals. An exemption should only be requested for “essential and emergency reasons.” For Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registered companies, endorsement from PEZA will be required to request an exemption. Once PEZA has granted its endorsement, DFA processing will take about one week. PEZA Travel Pass shall be for single-use and valid only for thirty (30) days from the date of its issuance.

The Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) may also endorse travel exemption requests to the DFA on a case-by-case basis for companies whose activities are considered critical or essential operations in manufacturing or export activities. Other government agencies may also endorse travel exemption requests to the DFA.

Departures: All departing foreign nationals who are issued visas pursuant to the DOJ, the BI, the BOI, PRA, PEZA, CEZA, SBMA, CDC, AFAB, and APECO, are required to secure a Travel Pass from the same agency which issued their visas. The Travel Pass shall be presented, in printed or electronic form, to the immigration counters as part of the documentary requirements upon departure. Exempt from this are those holding Emigration Clearance Certificates (ECC) from the BI and Holders of 9(a) visas issued by the DFA. Foreign nationals who fail to present their duly issued Travel Pass shall not be permitted to depart unless confirmed by the focal persons of the visa-issuing agencies.

All holders of 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), except those whose visa applications have been endorsed and certified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Board of Investments (BOI), are required to secure a Travel Pass prior to their departure from the Philippines. Letter requests for the issuance of a Travel Pass shall be filed with the Department of Justice, or via electronic mail (email) at dojlegal47a2@gmail.com at least seven (7) days prior to departure. Except for emergency cases, applications submitted beyond the reglementary period shall not be processed. The latest DOJ endorsement granting the visa must be appended to the letter request.

All Subic-Clark Visa Holders departing the Philippines are required to secure a Travel Pass. Apply for the Travel Pass at least Five (5) Working Days before the intended travel date.

Vaccinated Travelers

As of June 7, 2021, the Filipino government has revised arrival protocols for fully vaccinated individuals who have been vaccinated in the Philippines and travel restrictions, as follows:

  • Notwithstanding the provisions of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, the inbound international travel to any port of the Philippines of all fully vaccinated individuals who have been vaccinated in the Philippines, shall be governed by the following guidelines:
    • An individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated for COVID-19:
      • ≥ 2 weeks after having received the second dose in a 2-dose series, or
      • ≥ 2 weeks after having received a single-dose vaccine.
      • Vaccines administered to the individual are included either in the Philippine Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) List or through a Compassionate Special Permit (CSP).
    • A fully vaccinated individual must carry his or her vaccination card, which must be verified prior to the departure, as far as practicable. This document must be presented to the dedicated Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation One-Stop-Shop (OSS) upon arrival in the Philippines;
    • All arriving fully vaccinated individuals shall be required to undergo a seven (7)-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, with the day of arrival being the first day.
    • The BOQ shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for seven (7) days. Thereafter, the individual is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms;
    • The individual shall undergo Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing only when COVID-19 symptoms manifest within the duration of the seven (7)-day facility-based quarantine; and
    • Upon completion of the seven (7)-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating therein the individual’s vaccination status.

Please note that the revised arrival protocols do not apply to Filipinos or foreign nationals who got vaccinated in another country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Please note: For the limited period of 22 March 2021 until 31 May 2021 and subject to review upon the expiration of the said period, among others, that:

  • The provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal shall be placed under General Community Quarantine together with the highly urbanized cities of the National Capital Region, and the municipality of Pateros (Subject Area).

The following additional restriction measures shall be put in place in the entirety of the Subject Area:

  • To prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to other parts of the country, only essential travel into and out of the Subject Area shall be allowed. Public transportation shall remain operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation. The use of active transportation shall likewise be promoted;
  • All mass gatherings including religious gatherings shall be prohibited. The holding of face-to-face meetings are highly discouraged and in the alternative, virtual meetings are highly encouraged;
  • Holding of weddings, baptisms, and funeral services shall be limited to ten (10) persons;
  • Current operational capacities of essential and non-essential services/industries shall be maintained, subject to adherence to safety protocols and minimum public health standards, particularly in the prohibition of aggregation in communal areas such as pantries, canteens, etc. However, the private sector is enjoined to adopt similar alternative working arrangements as those already in place in the executive branch of government, i.e. thirty percent (30%) to fifty percent (50%) operational or on-site capacity, where applicable;
  • Dine-in restaurants, cafes, and establishments shall be limited to delivery, take-out, and any outdoor or alfresco dining shall be allowed provided that additional engineering and administrative controls are put in place such as but not limited to, placing of acrylic or similar dividers, limiting to two (2) persons per table with appropriate seating arrangements (one-seat apart in a diagonal configuration);
  • The suspension of operations of businesses/industries pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 103 issued on 18 March 2021, is hereby reiterated. The operations of driving schools, traditional cinemas, and video- and interactive- game arcades, libraries, archives, museums, and cultural centers, limited social events at accredited establishments of the Department of Tourism (DOT), and limited tourist attractions except open-air tourist attractions shall be temporarily suspended. Cockfighting and cockpit operations, including in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine shall be temporarily suspended. Venue capacity of outdoor dine-in restaurants and cafes, personal care services shall be reduced to a maximum of fifty percent (50%);
  • A common curfew shall be imposed between ten o’clock in the evening to five o’clock in the morning (10:00 PM to 5:00 AM). Workers, cargo vehicles, and public transportation, however, shall not be restricted by such curfew;
  • Any person below eighteen (18) years old and above sixty-five (65) years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, including any persons who reside with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in their respective industries and offices. Persons above sixty-five (65) years old may likewise be allowed for outdoor non-contact sports and other forms of outdoor exercises; Persons with disability (PWD) may be allowed outdoors for their therapy as well as for outdoor non-contact sports and other forms of outdoor exercises, upon presentation of prescription from their physicians or presentation of PWD ID;
  • Visiting persons outside their immediate family or other households is strongly discouraged. Even at home, the wearing of masks for the elderly and the vulnerable and for the rest of the household is strongly advised; and
  • Subject to the above additional restrictions, all provisions applicable to GCQ areas in the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended, shall remain in effect in the Subject Area.

Per the guidelines, movements from the Subject Area to an area outside the Subject Area and vice versa may be difficult during the said period and alternative arrangements for collection or delivery of documents to/from outside the Subject Area should be explored. In addition, considering the limited operational capacity of all government agencies and instrumentalities of the executive branch, there may be some delays in the processing of work permit/visa applications during the said period.

Additionally, new measures are in effect related to the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, which has been detected in Japan, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Austria, and the United Kingdom. Individuals who are coming from Austria or transited through the country in the past 14 days before entering the Philippines are not prohibited from entering the country. However, through January 15, 2021, all incoming travelers from the affected countries must undergo a14-day quarantine at a designated facility. Local Government Units (LGUs) must make necessary preparations for implementing strict quarantine and isolation in health facilities for arriving travelers and for individuals quarantining at home after January 15, 2021. Existing entry procedures and prohibitions will still apply to arriving passengers and continue to be implemented.

All foreign nationals arriving at an airport in the Philippines will be subject to a mandatory medical assessment, testing for COVID-19, and quarantine. Those arriving from a high-risk location according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Situation Report and those with symptoms will be designated for Stringent Quarantine while all others will be designated for Mandatory Quarantine. In either case, foreign nationals will be supervised by Philippine officials for the duration of the quarantine period. Those designated for Stringent Quarantine will be tested for COVID-19 and must remain at a Bureau of Quarantine-approved quarantine facility until the results are received. Those that test negative may move to a 14-day home quarantine, while those that test positive will be moved to a medical facility. All foreign nationals designated for Mandatory Quarantine will also be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival and a 14-day quarantine at an approved facility. They will be re-tested after their quarantine period and directed based on the test results.

Status of Government Services

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued Advisory No. 4, Series of 2021, dated 14 May 2021 with the subject “Implementation of New and Revised Prescribed Forms on the Issuance and Regulation of Alien Employment Permits Pursuant to DO 221 S2021” relative to the effectivity of DOLE DO 221-21 and directed all DOLE Regional Offices (ROs) to utilize the following new and revised prescribed forms:

  1. Revised Alien Employment Permit (AEP) Application Form starting 6 May 2021;
  2. Revised Labor Market Test (LMT) Form to be utilized starting 15 May 2021, with the following information included:
    • Name and Address of establishment;
    • Name of foreign national;
    • Position, Qualification/s and Brief Description of the Function/s;
      Salary, and other Benefits; and
    • Notice that any person in the Philippines, who is competent, able, and willing at the time of application, to perform the services for which the foreign national is desired, may file an objection at the DOLE-RO within thirty (30) days after publication.
  3. Establishment Report on Employed Foreign Workers to be submitted not later than thirty (30) calendar days after each quarter; and
  4. Notification of Change in Information for Establishment Employing Foreign Nationals which must be submitted within ten (10) working days after such change.

The DOLE Advisory also provided the following guidelines:

  1. DOLE ROs shall also advise their clients and stakeholders on the implementation of “publication of job vacancy” pursuant to Paragraph 1, Section 9, of DOLE DO 221-21, which shall contain the following:
    • Name of the Company;
    • Workplace Address/Place of Assignment;
    • Position and quantity of workers needed; and
    • Brief Description of the Function/s and Qualification/s.
  2. Publication of vacancy/ies shall be made at least fifteen (15) calendar days prior to the application of AEP and shall be valid and effective within thirty (30) days from the date of publication in a newspaper of general circulation. No particulars are given to the minimum dimensions, but readability shall be observed.
  3. DOLE ROs shall ensure publication of the LMT in their respective official website pursuant to Paragraph 6, Section 9, of DOLE DO 221-21.

More sectors are allowed to reopen and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has resumed full services but with safety protocols in place to protect its employees and customers from COVID-19. Specifically, those seeking in-person services from the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila are to follow the following process:

  • Clients must schedule an appointment online via the BI website at www.immigration.gov.ph. An appointment code will be issued and only those with a code will be served.
  • Clients must present an identification card together with their appointment code at the BI office.
  • Clients will only be served at their appointment time–clients will not be permitted to enter the BI office without an appointment.
  • Clients must wear a face mask and practice social distancing while in the BI office.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has resumed operations. Consular offices in Metro Manila and the consular office in ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque City will be operating with a skeletal workforce and will provide services only to those with an urgent need, such as Overseas Filipino Workers and those with medical cases, until the end of the community quarantine period. Applicants with questions or emergencies should contact the consular office where their appointment was scheduled, email oca.concerns@dfa.gov.ph, or call 8651 9400. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the National Capital Region (NCR) has resumed accepting and processing Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications and has issued new guidelines for the filing of AEP applications. Companies will be required to register online before submitting AEP applications. The AEP application and supporting documents will then need to be submitted via email. Renewal applications can be filed within 45 days of the end of the community quarantine without penalty. The AEP cards will be delivered by courier after payment is made at an authorized payment center. Requests for cancellation of an AEP or to apply for a new AEP in the event the card is lost or damaged should be sent via email to tssdepww_cancellation@gmail.com. The AEP card to be canceled should be sent to the office by courier and will be canceled on receipt. Please contact your immigration professional for further information on these processes.

DOLE Regional Office IV-A (Calabarzon) is closed and not accepting applications.
Accordingly, delays in the processing of AEP and Certificate of Exclusion applications by this office are to be expected.

Concessions

Temporary visitor visa holders who have been in the Philippines for less than one year and who are departing the country are temporarily allowed to obtain their Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) at an international airport. The BI will temporarily not require biometrics submission or issuance of a Special Security Registration Number (SSRN) for processing of an ECC, but will still check the local records of the ECC applicant to ensure he/she has no open case or obligation with the government.

Those with AEPs that expired while DOLE was not processing AEP applications will not be subject to fines or other penalties and such AEP holders may file renewal applications within 45 days after the GCQ is lifted. New AEP applicants whose employment contracts took effect during the suspension period or whose 15-day grace period already expired will also not be subject to penalties and may also file applications within 45 days after the GCQ is lifted. Note that DOLE NCR has resumed accepting AEP applications while DOLE Regional Office IV-A has not.

POLAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
Poland has implemented an international travel ban that will be in place until further notice.
Exempt from the ban are Polish citizens; spouses and children of Polish citizens; permanent or temporary residents of Poland; Pole Card holders; foreign nationals permitted to work in Poland; EU/EEA, Swiss and UK nationals and their spouses and children; students; foreign nationals whose profession involves the transport of goods or people; and residents of Albania, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea and Ukraine travelling on direct flights. The Border Guard may approve additional exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
International air travel to and from Poland has resumed, though flights from some countries remain restricted.
Poland has relaxed controls at its borders.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Most foreign travelers must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival. Exempt from the quarantine requirement are returning Polish nationals; nationals of EU/EEA countries, Switzerland and the UK and their immediate family members; travelers entering from the EU or Schengen Area; and residents of Albania, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Kingdom traveling on direct flights
Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated at a hospital.
The deadline for EU nationals to file EU registration applications (90 days from the last crossing of the Polish border) that was previously suspended is back in effect.
Status of Government Services
Immigration offices may send letters to applicants electronically until September 30, 2020, provided applicants agree to receive communications this way. Immigration offices may also ask applicants to review their case files via email and may conduct interviews via video conference or teleconference.
Immigration offices are closed for in-person services and are not honoring or scheduling appointments.
In-person address registration is not available at city halls, many of which are closed. Address registration can be conducted online through some city halls.
Concessions
  • Work Permits and Special Permissions that expire during the epidemic will be automatically extended to 30 days beyond the official end of the epidemic state. For example, if an end to the epidemic in Poland is declared on June 30, an expired work permit will be extended until July 30.
  • National visas and residence cards that expire during the epidemic will be automatically extended to 30 days beyond the official end of the epidemic state with no need for amending or stamping to reflect the extension. Foreign nationals who wish to extend their residence beyond the automatic extension period may submit an extension application after the immigration offices reopen.
  • Foreign nationals in Poland on another basis (e.g., Schengen visa, residence permit of another Schengen country, visa-free stay) will be allowed to stay in Poland for 30 days beyond the end of the epidemic state if they were present in Poland on March 14, 2020. If they were not in Poland on March 14, they will be allowed to extend their stay in Poland to 30 days beyond the end of the epidemic state if they submit a residence permit application within 30 days of the end of the epidemic state. Foreign nationals who wish to do so are advised to file their residence applications by mail as soon as possible, as it may be difficult to obtain a filing appointment when the immigration offices reopen. Foreign nationals who do not do so but rather depart Poland at the end of the epidemic state will be considered to have been unlawfully present in Poland.
  • Residence cards that expire before 30 days from the end of epidemic state will be automatically extended.
  • Residence cards of family members of EU citizens that expire during the epidemic state will be automatically extended to 30 days after the end of the epidemic state.
  • Pole Cards (Karta Polaka) that expire during the epidemic state will be automatically extended until three months beyond the end of the epidemic state. Pole Card holders must apply for a new card during this period.
  • Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine can apply for Polish national visas in their countries without an in-person visit to the consulate. Each consulate will determine its own remote application process. The remote application process does not apply to Schengen short-stay visas for stays of up to 90 days.
  • Employers may apply measures such as requiring remote work, reduction of working hours or reduction in remuneration to foreign nationals without triggering non-compliance with immigration law.

PORTUGAL

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Foreign nationals are banned from entering except for nationals of EU/Schengen countries and the UK and their family members; holders of Portuguese long-term visas or residence permits; holders of EU long-stay visas or residence permits transiting to their residence; medical and aid workers; travelers from Algeria, Canada, China, Morocco, South Korea and Tunisia, subject to reciprocity; and travelers from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Principe, the US, and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil entering for health, study, work, family or humanitarian purposes. Additional exceptions may be made.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Those arriving from Angola, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo), Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Principe and the United States are required to present a medical document issued no more than three days before departure confirming a negative COVID-19 test. Portuguese citizens and residents coming from these countries who cannot be tested before departure can complete a test on arrival.

Those arriving in the Azores from high-risk areas (per the World Health Organization) must also present a medical document as above. These travelers will also need to be tested at intervals after arrival. Those with positive test results will need to quarantine in a government facility for 14 days. Those arriving in Madeira must present a medical document as above or be tested on arrival.

Status of Government Services

Immigration offices (Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF)) have reopened and are scheduling appointments.

Tax registration remains suspended.

Portuguese embassies and consulates are starting to reopen for services by appointment. The processing of several types of visas has resumed. Please contact your local consulate to confirm its status, service offerings and procedures.

Concessions

Visas and residence cards that have expired on or after February 24, 2020 are deemed extended until October 30, 2020.

QATAR

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Currently, entry to Qatar is only permitted to citizens and permanent residents of Qatar or to nationals of other Gulf Cooperation Council member states (UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait).

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All arriving travelers coming from a country that is not included in Qatar’s green list who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 in Qatar are required to quarantine for 7 days in an officially approved quarantine hotel upon arrival.

Travelers that are arriving from a country included in the green list that have not been vaccinated in Qatar must quarantine for 7 days at their residence.

As of April 27, 2021, some testing requirements and quarantine exemptions have been updated.

Individuals that contracted and recovered from COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine rules when they enter Qatar if they receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours before their arrival. Proof of recovery must be provided through a lab-confirmed result within 6 months of their first positive COVID-19 test.

Individuals who have had the COVID-19 vaccine outside of Qatar are exempt from quarantining as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • The vaccine they received has been approved by the Qatari Ministry of Public Health.
  • They have completed the required dosage for the vaccine.
  • 14 days have passed since receiving the full dosage of the vaccine.
  • They present a valid vaccination certification to customs officials upon arrival.

Status of Government Services

The processing of initial entry visa applications and labor quota applications is on hold.

All Qatar Visa Centers are closed, and most immigration applications cannot be submitted in person.

ROMANIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
Foreign nationals are banned from entering Romania except for the following:
  • Nationals of EU/Schengen countries and the UK
  • The family members of EU/Schengen nationals who live in Romania
  • Holders of Romanian long-stay visas or residence permits
  • The family members of Romanian nationals
  • Travelers entering for a professional reason, with a valid visa or residence permit
  • Residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, provided they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and they have proof of residence status in the country
  • Those entering for a medical emergency
  • Diplomats
  • Travelers in transit whose trip is urgent
  • Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Arriving asymptomatic travelers are subject to a 14-day home quarantine except for travelers from certain countries. Please contact your immigration professional for the list of exempt countries, as this changes frequently and without notice.
A medical check will be conducted upon entry.
Status of Government Services
Some Romanian consulates have reopened and resumed processing visa applications.
The immigration office is again open and processing permit applications but processing delays should be expected.

RUSSIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Passenger flights between Russia and the United Kingdom have been further suspended until June 1, 2021.

Passenger flights between Russia and the following countries are resumed: Egypt, UAE, Maldives, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Finland, Serbia, Cuba, Japan, Qatar, India, and Vietnam.

Beginning May 25, 2021, passenger flights between Russia and the following countries will resume: Belarus, Iceland, Malta, Mexico, Portugal, and Saudi Arabia.

Citizens and permanent residents of Belarus can now enter Russia from any country with which Russia opened air communications. Entry is also permitted by rail.

Citizens and permanent residents Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan can enter Russia from the country of their citizenship or permanent residence provided the following conditions are observed:

  • Entry only through direct flights (exception for citizens of Belarus who can also enter via rail transportation)
  • Must present a negative COVID-19 Test taken within 72 hours before entry and have the original certificate with them (English or Russian language)
  • Before traveling, they must complete the following questionnaire

All other foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Russia until further notice except for the following:

  • Employees of foreign embassies, consulates, international organizations, and their family members and those holding diplomatic or official visas;
  • Those holding ordinary private visas issued in connection with the death of a close relative (death certificate and evidence of family connection must be presented);
  • Close relatives (spouses, parents, children) of Russian nationals who are traveling with the Russian national family member and who present evidence of the relationship;
  • Foreign nationals permanently residing in the Russian Federation (holders of a permanent residence permit (PRP));
  • Holders of valid Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permits and visas (with Federal Ministry, Federal Security Service, and Ministry of Internal Affairs approval; only one entry is permitted) and their family members (including: Spouses, Parents; Children; Adoptive parents; Adopted children);
  • Those who are transiting through air checkpoints;
  • Participants in the state program for the relocation of compatriots living abroad, provided they have valid identification documents confirming this status and a certificate of participation in the program;
  • Certain foreign nationals conducting installation and technical support of foreign equipment, with the authorization of the Federal Security Service;
  • Professional athletes, under certain conditions;
  • Those entering to receive medical treatment, with an invitation from the medical provider (allowed only once); and
  • Those entering to care for a close family member who is ill (spouse, parent, child, adopted child, adoptive parent, caretaker), with documents confirming the relative’s condition and the relationship (allowed only once).

Also allowed to enter under all types of visas are nationals of Abkhazia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, and those who hold permanent residence permits in these countries. Such travelers must be entering from these countries–they may not enter from a third country. The Internal Affairs Ministry will issue all types of invitation letters and Russian consulates will issue all types of visas on the basis of the issued invitation letters for these travelers. They do not need to be on the lists of the Internal Affairs Ministry or Federal Security Service or be approved by the relevant Ministry to enter Russia.

Russian citizens are prohibited from crossing Russian land borders, including the Russia-Belarus border, except for the following Russian citizens:

  • Diplomats and officials and their family members;
  • Drivers and crew members;
  • Military personnel;
  • Those exiting Russia due to the death of a close relative (a copy of the death certificate and evidence of family connection must be presented);
  • Those with permanent residence in the Kaliningradskaya region traveling by train through Russia to the Kaliningradskaya region or back, provided they have evidence (passport stamp) of permanent registration in Kaliningrad;
  • Those permanently residing in Donetsk or Lugansk (must have and present a Russian passport);
  • Employees of organizations engaged in the building of critical nuclear energy infrastructure in foreign countries based on international agreements; and
  • Those who have citizenship or permanent residence in a foreign country on a one-way trip to their place of residence.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All foreign nationals, including those in transit, must present on arrival a negative result from a PCR test for COVID-19. The test results must be in English or Russian and the test must be done no more than 3 days before entering Russia. If the test results are not in one of these languages, the test certificate must be translated into Russian and the translation must be verified by the nearest Russian consulate. Employers are responsible for informing their employees of the requirement to be tested within three days of entry and for confirming that their employees comply with the requirement.

Re-entering Russian citizens are required to pass a COVID-19 PCR test and upload the results via the government internet portal gosuslugi within three days of arrival. They are also required to complete a special form online before their flight.

Travelers entering the country for work purposes are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those considered to be entering for work purposes are those with newly issued work visas (or entering visa-free to work), as well as those returning with long-term work visas issued earlier that are still valid.

Foreign nationals and Russian citizens planning to enter Russia are required to complete an Entry Questionnaire, which will be checked before their flight and on arrival.

Residents of Moscow with cold or flu symptoms and those living with them are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those with symptoms may only leave their residence to receive medical care. Those living with them may leave to purchase necessities.

Applicants for a temporary residence permit (TRP), PRP, work permit (visa-nationals), or patent (CIS citizens) will need to pass a COVID-19 test. The test is currently not required for applications for HQS work permits.

Moscow’s self-isolation period has ended, and e-passes are no longer required.
Employers may no longer hire or continue to employ foreign nationals without a new or renewed work permit or patent. Work permits and patents are again required for all employees.

Status of Government Services

Highly qualified specialists and their family members will be issued permanent residence permits with an indefinite duration. Once obtained the employee will be able to continue working in Russia without the need to renew a work permit. Applicants will need to comply with specific criteria to obtain the indefinite HQS permit.

There is a new procedure of address registration for foreign nationals known as “Inviting party”; allowing foreigners, who own residential premises in Russia, to register other foreign nationals, who will stay in their premises for residence. In order to register, foreign citizens will have to provide notification and notarized consent from the inviting party to register themselves and their family members. Address registration applications will now also be accepted through the government internet portal “Gosuslugi”. Participants of the government program for relocation of compatriots living abroad as well as their family members (relocating with them) will not have to register within 30 calendar days from arrival to the place of residence\stay. After the expiration of this period, they will be given another 7 business days to file for address registration.

The following services remain unavailable:

  • Invitation letters for entry to Russia, except for foreign nationals conducting installation and technical support of foreign equipment and for HQS work permits;
  • Corporate work permits;
  • Work permits for foreign nationals who are abroad, except for HQS work permits;
  • Visa issuance by Russian consulates abroad, except for those in the exception
    categories listed above; and
  • E-visas.

Submission of documents for various processes is still possible through the Sakhorovo Migration Center in Moscow, which remains open. Address registration can be completed through a post office. Quarterly salary notifications for HQS work permit holders and notification of the signing of labor agreements or dismissal of foreign nationals can also be conducted.

Applicants have to apply for a new letter following the process of obtaining entry approval from the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Concessions

Highly qualified specialists and their family members who previously entered the Russian Federation are given the opportunity to travel outside the Russian Federation for Christmas and New Year holidays and return back until January 10, 2021. It is mandatory to have a medical document (in Russian or English) confirming a negative test result for COVID-19 by PCR, obtained no earlier than 3 days before the date of return to the Russian Federation.

The territorial divisions of the Internal Affairs Ministry are required to do the following:

  • Approve applications for extension of stay for up to 90 days for foreign nationals who entered Russia on short-term visa-free travel (including cases in which the stay has already expired and the foreign national could not leave Russia before the expiration date). The applicant will later be issued a transit visa to exit the country; For visa-exempt foreign nationals that do not have migration cards, issue duplicates and process their address registration applications;
  • Issue exit visas to those who wish to leave Russia;
  • Extend TRP or PRP for applicants whose documents will soon expire or have already expired;
  • Not annual work permits, TRP, or PRP, even if the holder has exceeded the 6-month limit for stays abroad if the permit holder is unable to enter Russia.

Foreign nationals who hold the following documents with an expiration date between March 15 and December 15, 2020, will have their documents automatically extended for 275 days from the document’s expiration date:

  • Visas (all types);
  • Temporary and permanent address registration;
  • Migration cards;
  • TRP
  • PRP
  • Documents confirming refugee status, the status of “mandatory moved person”, or participation in the state program for relocation of compatriots living abroad

This automatic extension no longer applies to HQS work permits, standard work permits, corporate employment permits, or patents (if the patent expires between March 15 and December 15, 2020, it is possible to apply for its renewal without leaving Russia). Holders of these documents and their employers are required to apply for an extension using the standard process.

Holders of business, guest, tourist, private and technical visas will have to leave Russia once the 276-day grace period expires unless they can find an employer and apply for a work permit and work visa by December 15, 2020.

Foreign nationals with work visas expiring between March 15 and December 15, 2020, can apply for an extension; although applications for work visa extensions are being accepted now, provided the work permit has been extended (work permit extension applications are also being accepted now).

The period between March 15 and December 15, 2020, will not be counted toward the six-month stay limit abroad applicable to participants of state programs for relocation of compatriots living abroad, TRP and PRP holders, and foreign nationals subject to administrative removal or deportation will not be required to depart during this period.

Certain rulings will not be made between March 15 and December 15, 2020, such as those for deportation, administrative removal, and the cancellation of various permits and visas.

SAUDI ARABIA

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Effective on May 31, travel is permitted from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US Travelers from these countries will still be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine upon arrival and adhere to current COVID-19 policies.

Effective on May 17, Saudi Arabia’s travel ban will be lifted, and Saudi Arabian citizens will be allowed to travel internationally if they are fully vaccinated, received the first dose of their vaccine 14 days before departure, or have recovered from a COVID-19 infection within the last six months. Saudi citizens under the age of 18 do not have to be vaccinated to travel but must provide evidence of travel insurance approved by the Saudi Central Bank before departure.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Upon returning to Saudi Arabia, citizens must undergo a seven-day home quarantine and take the PCR test on the last day of quarantine. Children under the age of 8 are exempt from the test.

Effective on May 20, non-citizens and exempted travelers, over the age of eight, will be required to submit a PCR test certificate within 72 hours departing for the country and a valid health insurance policy covering COVID-19 before and upon arrival in the Kingdom.

Unvaccinated individuals must undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine at their own expense and take the PCR test on the first and seventh day of quarantine. The quarantine will not be applicable to immunized individuals provided they submit an official vaccination certificate before and upon their arrival. Individuals who received the vaccine less than 14 days before their arrival will still need to quarantine.

Concessions

Saudi Arabia will automatically renew the validity of residence permits (Iqama), exit and re-entry visas of foreign nationals stranded abroad until July 31, 2021.

The residence visa-related extensions will only be granted to foreign nationals from the 20 countries, the list of which was announced on February 2, from where entry into the Kingdom was suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20 countries include the United Arab Emirates, Germany, USA, UK, South Africa, France, Egypt, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Sweden, Swiss Confederation, and Turkey.

SINGAPORE

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Updated May 24, 2021, Pass holders who departed from, transited through, or visited India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka are not allowed to enter Singapore until further notice.

The government has put together an easy-to-follow chart to clarify the SHN and Swab requirements for approved travelers under the following Safe Travel Lanes, according to the traveler’s travel history in the past consecutive 14 days to a certain list of countries/regions.

All pass holders (work pass holders and dependents) who are overseas must obtain MOM website entry approval before they can enter Singapore.

Business or official travelers sponsored by a Singapore Government agency may submit applications to use the Singapore-Malaysia Reciprocal Green Lane.

Residents of Singapore are to defer all travel abroad. Essential business and official travel will be permitted under Green/Fast Lane arrangements.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Effective January 18, 2021, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has mandated that newly arrived work permit and S pass holders from the Construction, Marine, and Process (CMP) sectors from higher-risk countries/regions, take an On-Arrival Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and an On-Arrival Serology Test in Singapore. The cost of the new On-Arrival Tests will be borne by the employers.

Travelers arriving by air: Must use Changi Airport’s eService to book and pay for the tests before the pass holders arrive in Singapore.

Travelers arriving by land: On arrival, pass holders must register and pay for the tests at the checkpoints. Find out who is responsible for the cost of the COVID-19 tests.

Travelers arriving by sea: Must use MPA’s eService to book and pay for the tests before arrival in Singapore.

As of June 7, 2021, Pass holders entering Singapore who spent 21 consecutive days in Australia, Brunei, Mainland China (excluding Guangdong Province), or New Zealand must take a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport. Children who are 6 years old and below do not need to take the test. Employers must book and make payment for the test before the pass holders arrive in Singapore. Otherwise, the company’s subsequent entry approval requests may be rejected.

After the test, travelers must remain isolated in their accommodation until they have obtained a negative test result. Stay-home Notice (SHN) is not required.

Pass holders who spent 21 consecutive days in Hong Kong, Guangdong Province of Mainland China, Macao, or Victoria State (Australia) and are arriving in Singapore are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival, serve a 7-day Stay-Home Notice at home or a hotel, and take another COVID-19 test before their Stay-Home Notice is over.

Pass holders who spent 21 consecutive days in Fiji or Taiwan must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure; Take an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test; Serve a 21-day SHN at home (upon approval) or SHN dedicated facility. After SHN, those staying in dormitories must go for additional 7-day testing at designated facilities; then take another COVID-19 PCR test before SHN is over. Pass holders with travel history to Vietnam who didn’t complete their 14-day SHN at SDFs by May 15, 2021, must serve the remainder of their 21-day SHN in SDFs.

All other Pass holders must Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure. The test must be presented in English. Pass holders who have recovered from COVID-19 are also subject to this requirement; Comply to take an on-arrival COVID-19 test in Singapore; Serve a 21-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities. For pass holders who meet certain conditions, you can request for them to serve their 21-day SHN at a place of residence during the entry approval application, instead of the dedicated SHN facilities; Take a COVID-19 swab test before their SHN is over. Children who are 6 years old and below this year are exempted from the COVID-19 tests.

Travelers and Pass holders arriving from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka are not allowed to enter Singapore until further notice. Pass holders with travel history to these countries who have already entered Singapore before May 7, 2021, must complete a 21-day SHN at an SDF and take 2 COVID-19 swab tests during their stay.

See the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website and MOM’s FAQs on entry approvals and SHN requirements for more information about the SHN requirement.

Status of Government Services

As of May 11, 2021, and until further notice, the Government is reducing entry approvals for work pass holders entering Singapore in the coming weeks. Due to the need to reschedule the entry of work pass holders who had already obtained approval to enter Singapore, new entry applications from higher-risk countries will not be accepted until further notice. The Ministry of Manpower will be reaching out to affected work pass holders and their employers about the changes to their entry.

These changes will not affect work pass holders already given or seeking entry approval to enter Singapore from lower-risk countries.

The government is resuming activities after the Circuit Breaker safe distancing period in three phases. Phase 1: Safe Reopening began on June 2, 2020. Accordingly, there are changes to work pass services effective June 2, 2020, including the resumption of some services. Please see MOM’s advisory and FAQs for details on these changes. Phase 2: Safe Transition began on June 19 and remains in place.

Concessions

To help employers defer bringing foreigners into Singapore, MOM will automatically extend the validity of IPAs that expired during the Circuit Breaker period (April 7 to June 1, 2020) by two months. There is no need to request an extension.

Pass holders who are unable to get an appointment to visit the Employment Pass Services Centre or MOM Services Centre (Hall C) for card registration before their notification letters expire will have their notification letter expiry dates automatically extended. No hard copy letters will be issued for this extension.

Employers may reduce salaries for Employment and S Pass holders that were unable to work during the Circuit Breaker period.

Find all of MOM’s advisories on COVID-19 here. Find all updates on border control measures in response to COVID-19 on the ICA website. If you are overseas, you may visit this website and the Ministry of Health’s website for updates on Singapore’s COVID-19 situation.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa’s government has decided to move to level 1, effective September 20, 2020.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

South African land borders are closed through February 15, 2021. Certain admissions and departures through national land borders will still be permitted, including individuals who need medical treatment, individuals involved in the transportation of fuel, goods, and cargo; returning South African citizens; permanent residents and long-term visa holders; South African citizens and permanent residents leaving for employment, study or residence outside the country; foreign nationals returning to their country of origin; diplomats; daily commuters from neighboring countries who receive education in South Africa, and individuals who are traveling to attend the funeral of an immediate relative.

Travelers who arrive through the Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, and Cape Town International Airport must have a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of travel.

As of October 1, 2020, travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel will be allowed, subject to various containment and mitigation measures as the following: Travel restrictions will be applied to countries with high infection rates; travelers will be able to use one land border post or one main airport (King Shaka, Tambo or Cape Town); Travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure; if the Covid-19 test is not provided traveller will remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost; travelers will be screened upon arrival and determined if they need to quarantine if they present symptoms; travelers must install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.

It has been announced that all restrictions on inter-provincial travel will be lifted.
South Africa updated their list of high-risk countries as: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, United States of America and United Kingdom. Leisure travel from these countries is not allowed. Business travelers and seasonal workers may apply by e-mail for a special permission to enter the country. Specific documentation needs to be presented. Long term visa holders may travel to South Africa without prior approval.

The DHA confirmed that foreign nationals that wish to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All persons entering South Africa through any point of entry must be subjected to screening at the point of entry. Anyone who had exposure to COVID -19 or is presenting with any signs and symptoms of it, must be subjected to a medical examination which may include testing, and may be placed under mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of 10 days. They may, however, be permitted to self-quarantine at a place that complies with the following requirements:

  1. The place must have a separate, well-ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or be a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  2. Meals must be served in the room with disposable utensils or utensils that are separate and are washed properly if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  3. They must have the support of friends or family who can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the entrance if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
  4. They must have a thermometer that will allow them to measure their temperature daily;
  5. They must have access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms;
  6. They must have access to a private physician that they can contact should they be in need of medical advice or care; and
  7. They must have a contact number where they can be reached during the period of self-quarantine or self-isolation.

A person who wishes to be placed under self-quarantine, or their employer, must submit a written application, 72 hours prior to the intended date of travel to South Africa, to the Director-General of the Department of Health (DG) to obtain approval. Where approval for self-quarantine has not been granted or it has been determined that the person has failed to adhere to the self-quarantine conditions, they will be placed in a state identified quarantine facility.

Self-quarantine and self-isolation are at the person’s own, or the employer’s, expense. Employers who wish to have their employees in quarantine or isolation facilities of the employers’ choice must pay all costs incurred. Monitoring and testing of employees in quarantine or isolation remains the responsibility of the employer and will be at no cost to the state. If a person’s application is approved by the DG they will be allowed to self-quarantine or self-isolate on arrival and they will be subjected to health reporting protocols and regular follow-ups by the Department of Health.

Status of Government Services

The South African government is now automatically extending visas through March 31, 2021. Foreign nationals who are already in the country with vias that have expired and were automatically extended through January 31, 2021 due to their inability to travel during the COVID-19 will have their visas automatically extended through March 31, 2021. They do not need to submit a formal application. Foreign tourists who arrived in South Africa before the new Regulations on January 11, 2021 will also have their visas extended through March 31, 2021. They do not need to submit a formal application.

South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated. The Department of Home Affairs will resume normal operations, which implies the full resumption of the processing of all visa, permit and related applications at the central permitting hub in Pretoria.

Once the VACs resume normal operations foreign nationals whose visas have expired from February 15, 2020 onwards can proceed to apply to renew them. Those who have visas in restricted categories such as, but not limited to, short-term visitors who held 3-month Visitor’s Visas which have expired and which have now exceeded the maximum 3-month renewal period and which are technically no longer renewable (as the holder has already been present in the country for more than 6-months in total), and holders of Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas that have already been issued for the maximum 4-year duration provided for in the law and are thus also legally not renewable, can apply to renew their visas until October 31, 2020.

If the application is not finalized on or before October 31, a foreign national will still be allowed to depart from the country without being declared an undesirable person.
Foreign nationals who are ordinarily resident here with long-term visas which are renewable and which have expired may either apply to renew their visas for the relevant duration allowed by law (the maximum duration pertaining to the category of visa which they hold), apply to change the conditions of their existing visa or apply to change their visa category from one to another and they must do so as soon as possible when the VACs start accepting applications again. Those who apply for visa renewals will be allowed to continue conducting the activities allowed by their initial visa until the outcome of their application is received.

Those who apply will not be penalized due to the fact that their visas have expired, and they are not required to first regularize their stays before applying.

Concessions

The Department of Home Affairs has issued new Directions containing extended and new visa concessions for foreign nationals currently in South Africa in respect of the Covid-19 pandemic and in the context of the State of Disaster Regulations which remain in force. The concessions can be summarised as follows:

Short-term Visa Holders (visas issued for up to 3 months (90 days))

This typically will apply to short-term holiday and business visitors in possession of Visitor’s Visas.

Any short-term visa issued for less than 90 days before March 15, 2021, which expired during the national State of Disaster or which will expire before June 30, 2021 is automatically deemed renewed until June 30, 2021. Foreign nationals holding these visas do not need to apply to renew their visas and they may leave the country on or before June 30, 2021 without being declared undesirable at the Immigration Service upon departure if their visas have expired.

Long-term Visa Holders (visas issued for more than 3 months (90 days))

Long-term visas issued before March 15, 2021, which expired during the national State of Disaster or which will expire before July 31, 2021, including the undermentioned categories, are automatically deemed renewed until July 31, 2021, to allow the holders sufficient time to submit applications to either renew their visas or change their statuses to any other appropriate category of visa, even if their current visa has expired. While their renewal applications are in process, they may continue conducting the activities allowed by their current visas. The holders of these visas may leave the country on or before July 31, 2021 without being declared undesirable by the Immigration Service upon their departure if their visas have expired, if they choose not to remain in the country.

Applicable categories of long-term Visa:

  • Visas issued for more than 90 days up to 3 years (including Relative’s Visas);
  • Study Visas;
  • Treaty Visas;
  • Business Visas;
  • Medical Treatment Visas;
  • General Work Visas;
  • Critical Skills Work Visas;
  • Retired Persons Visas; and
  • Exchange Visas.

Please note that the long-term visa concession does not apply to holders of Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas (“ICT Work Visas”), as there is already a concession in place which allows qualifying foreign nationals whose 4-year ICT Work Visas will be expiring on or before June 30, 2021, to apply for a new ICT Work Visa from within the country for a further two-year period.

SOUTH KOREA

The government has placed the capital – Seoul – and the nearby Gyeonggi and Incheon areas under the Level 2 social distancing scheme. Face masks are mandatory at all times, fines will apply for those in violation.
Travel Restrictions and Permissions
The entry ban has been lifted effective August 10, 2020. South Korea has lifted restrictions on the arrival of those from China’s Hubei province and those using passports issued in Hubei province.
Nationals of 90 countries remain ineligible for the visa waiver program and will have to obtain a visa before traveling to South Korea. This is in response to these countries imposing entry restrictions on South Korean nationals due to COVID-19. The 90 countries are:
Antigua and Barbuda / Argentina / Austria / Australia / Bahamas / Bahrain / Belgium / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Botswana / Brazil / Brunei / Bulgaria / Canada / Chile / Colombia / Costa Rica / Croatia / Cyprus / Czech Republic / Denmark / Dominican Republic / Ecuador / El Salvador / Estonia / Eswatini /Fiji / Finland / France / Germany / Greece / Grenada / Guatemala / Haiti / Honduras / Hong Kong / Hungary / Iceland / Israel / Italy / Jamaica / Japan / Kazakhstan / Kiribati / Kuwait / Latvia / Lesotho / Liechtenstein / Lithuania / Luxembourg / Macau / Malaysia / Marshall Islands / Mauritius / Micronesia / Montenegro / Morocco / Nauru / Netherlands / New Zealand / Norway / Oman / Panama / Paraguay / Peru / Poland / Portugal / Qatar / Romania / Russia / Saint Lucia / Samoa / Saudi Arabia / Serbia / Seychelles / Singapore / Slovakia / Solomon Islands / South Africa / Spain / Suriname / Sweden / Switzerland / Taiwan / Thailand / Tonga / Trinidad and Tobago / Tunisia / Turkey / Tuvalu / UAE / Uruguay
All C1 and C3 visas issued by a South Korean consulate/embassy before April 5, 2020 whose holders did not enter South Korea by April 9, 2020 are deemed cancelled. Holders of such visas should contact their nearest embassy or consulate to inquire about re-applying.
The visa-free program for Chinese nationals in Jeju island has been suspended.
All visas issued by the Korean Consulate in Wuhan; China before February 4, 2020 have been invalidated.
All South Korean visas already issued by South Korean consulates in Japan as of March 9, 2020 will be deemed cancelled. Note that the Alien Registration Cards (ARCs) of Japanese nationals already residing and working in South Korea will not be cancelled.
All ARC holders except A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders must obtain a Re-entry Permit before leaving South Korea. Those that fail to do so will have their ARC deregistered. ARC holders can apply for the Re-entry Permit at the district immigration office before their departure date. They must make an appointment online at www.hikorea.go.kr. They can also apply at the immigration office at the airport on their departure date. Beginning in mid-June, they can also apply online at www.hikorea.go.kr. The fee is KRW 30,000.
Most ARC holders returning to South Korea must present a medical certificate in English or Korean issued by any local clinic or hospital in the 48 hours before they board their flight to South Korea. A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders and those who obtained a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate before departure (see below) are exempt from the requirement. The medical certificate must include the date of the examination; the presence/absence specifically of fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and other pulmonary symptoms; and the signature of the examining medical professional. A COVID-19 test result is not required, although a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 test result would also be acceptable.
ARC holders (except A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders) who do not have a medical certificate will not be permitted to board their flight to South Korea unless they have a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate. ARC holders who will leave South Korea for no more than three weeks to conduct business activities, journalism, or academic activities are eligible to apply for a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate when they apply for their Re-entry Permit before departing South Korea.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Foreign nationals arriving from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Uzbekistan must present a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test certificate showing that they tested negative for COVID-19. They must have two tests conducted at one of the local hospitals designated by the South Korean Embassy. The first test must be conducted within 48 hours before they submit their visa application to the South Korean Embassy. The second test must be conducted within 48 hours before boarding their flight to South Korea. Foreign nationals arriving from other countries must present a medical certificate confirming that they do not have any suspected Covid19 symptoms. The medical exam must be conducted at any local hospital within 48 hours before they submit their visa application to the South Korean Embassy.
All travelers arriving in South Korea are subject to a no-cost COVID-19 test and may also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. All travelers must install the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) “home quarantine safety protection” app on their mobile phones or be deported. Travelers must use the app to report their health status and any symptoms during their first two weeks in the country.
The immigration officers at the airport will provide further details. Further requirements depend on the traveler’s status in South Korea and their boarding location, as follows:
  • Travelers who obtained an Isolation Exemption Certificate before arriving in South Korea will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and will not be required to isolate if their test is negative.
  • Short-term visa holders, visa-free travelers, and long-term visa holders coming to apply for an ARC who do not yet have a residence in South Korea: These travelers will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport upon arrival. They must stay at a government-designated quarantine facility for their first 14 days in the country and will be tested again before the end of their quarantine.
  • South Korean citizens and ARC holders coming from the US/Europe and long-term visa holders coming from the US/Europe who have a residence in South Korea: These travelers must be tested within three days of arrival at the district public health center serving their residential address. They must self-isolate at their residence for 14 days after arrival.
  • South Korean citizens and ARC holders coming from other countries and long-term visa holders coming from other countries who have a residence in South Korea: These travelers must be tested within 14 days of arrival at the district public health center serving their residential address. They must self-isolate at their residence for 14 days after arrival.
Those required to quarantine must generally not leave their quarantine location for 14 days. If they need to leave to obtain essential supplies or services, they must notify their local public health center by phone. They must also notify their local public health center via phone if they have any COVID-19 symptoms during their quarantine period.
Severe penalties apply to those who do not follow the government’s quarantine and other requirements, including up to three years in prison, a fine of up to 20 million Won, visa and ARC cancellation, deportation and/or ban from re-entry. Government officers will conduct on-site inspections of longtime foreign residents and stiffen the punishment for those who present false addresses. If residences registered by inbound foreign nationals are unfit for self-quarantine (do not have a separate room and separate bathroom for those under quarantine), they will be placed in a dedicated quarantine facility.
Foreign arrivals who confirmed to be Covid-19 positive and violated quarantine rules will be responsible, in full, for all hospital and treatment costs. Those who tested positive but did not violate any quarantine rules will fall under the principle of reciprocity that South Korea has with their home country.
ARC holders, paying national health insurance fees to the South Korean government, confirmed to be Covid19 positive after returning to South Korea, will not inquire in any hospital or treatment costs as these will be covered by the South Korean government.
ARC holders and/or foreign visitors who are confirmed to be Covid19 positive while staying in South Korea due to local infections will not inquire in any hospital or treatment costs as these will be covered by the South Korean government.
Note that returning ARC holders are required to self-isolate for 14 days–a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate does not exempt the holder from the isolation requirement.
Status of Government Services
All visa applicants at South Korean consulates and embassies worldwide must undergo an interview and a medical exam at a designated hospital in their country of residence within 48 hours of submitting the visa application. Exact requirements, processes and exemptions will vary by consulate/embassy so applicants should check with the relevant consulate/embassy before applying.
All foreign nationals applying for South Korean visas at a South Korean consulate in China must fill out a “Health Report Form.”
All foreign nationals applying for South Korean visas at a South Korean consulate in Japan will need to complete a “Health Report Form” which will be available on the websites of Japan’s South Korean embassy and consulates once it has been released. Visa processing times at South Korean consulates in Japan will be longer than previously, likely at least 14 days, as this is the incubation period of the coronavirus.
Concessions
Holders of B-1/B-2 visas-on-arrival or C-3/C-4 visas who cannot leave South Korea because of cancelled flights are granted a 30-day extension. Further extensions may be possible.
Long-term visa holders with ARCs whose authorized stay expired between February 24 and April 29, 2020 may have their stay automatically extended under certain conditions.
Foreign residents who were physically present in South Korea with a valid ARC on April 9, 2020 and whose ARC will expire between April 9 and May 31, 2020 will have their ARCs automatically extended for three months from the current expiration date–no application is necessary. Qualifying ARC holders can check to confirm that their extension has been applied via this website. Note that E-9 and E-10 visa holders are not eligible for this extension and E-6-2, H-2, F-1-11, and F-1-5 visa holders may receive an extension of less than three months.

SPAIN

Temporary non-essential travel restrictions from third countries to the EU and Schengen-associated countries are extended until June 30, 2021. There are exceptions for the vaccination of foreign nationals. Land borders to enter Spain through Ceuta and Melilla will be maintained temporarily closed.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travel restrictions are currently maintained with Brazil and South Africa until June 22, 2021, with the exemption of Spanish, Andorran citizens and residents in Spain; travelers transiting through Spain to a non-Schengen country with a less than a 24-hour stop and not exiting the transit area of the Spanish airport; state flights, search and rescue services; flights with a stop in the Spanish territory for non-commercial purposes, to reach a final destination; cargo, ferry, humanitarian, medical and emergency flights; and aeronautic staff required to undertake air transport business.

Land border controls with Portugal are extended until June 1, 2021 due to the health crisis as result of the Covid-19, except for: Spanish nationals, their spouses, partners while their relationship is registered, dependents in the ascending or descending line provided they travel with them or to join them; Legal residents in Spain, evidencing their regular residence, as well as students undertaking studies in Spain; Residents in other Member States or Schengen Associated States travelling to their regular residence place duly evidenced; Those transiting Spain or will remain in Spain for labor reasons only, including cross-border workers, health and transport workers; Travelers evidencing grounds of force majeure, need for humanitarian reasons, Foreign staff being members of the diplomatic missions, consular offices, international organizations based in Spain, provided their mobility is related to the performance of official duties; Travelers taking part of State travels, law-enforcement agencies, Air forces to undertake their duties.

Temporary restriction by land to the Schengen area through the entrance control point at Gibraltar continues. The restriction is maintained except for:

  • Legal residents in Gibraltar, regardless of their nationality, while the reciprocity principle applied with respect to the entry in Gibraltar of the residents in the region of El Campo de Gibraltar.
  • Persons providing documentary evidence of grounds of force majeure or in need or whose entry is allowed for humanitarian reasons.

Spain will continue to deny entry to travelers seeking entry from outside of the EU/Schengen Area unless they belong to one of the following categories:

  • Residents of EU/Schengen countries, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City (Holy See), or San Marino who are traveling to their country of residence, with documentary evidence;
  • Holders of a long-term visa issued by an EU/Schengen Member State to which they are traveling;
  • Healthcare or eldercare professionals undertaking their work activity;
  • Those engaged in the transport of goods; sea and flight crew required to carry out air transport activities.
  • Members of diplomatic missions, consular posts, international and military organizations, and civil protection and humanitarian organizations, for the performance of their official duties;
  • Students undertaking their studies in EU or the Schengen Member States, with the corresponding visa or permit and medical coverage, provided they are traveling to the country where they study, and they enter during the academic year or 15 days before it begins;
  • Highly qualified employees with evidence that their employment is mandatory and cannot be postponed or performed remotely;
  • Persons traveling for urgent family reasons;
  • Persons who can evidence force majeure or other necessity, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds;
  • Residents of Australia, Israel, Japan, China (subject to reciprocity), Hong Kong, Macao, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland traveling directly from these countries, transiting through these countries, or transiting through international airports located in countries not included in the list. Spain will review this list on a bi-weekly basis, and it is subject to change.

Third-country nationals are allowed to enter Spain with a valid travel document and an expired residence card if they are holders of a temporary residence permit, work permit, or stay permit for study purposes, student mobility, internship, or volunteer services under the general immigration framework or Entrepreneurs’ Act; holders of a residence card as a dependent family member of an EU national; or holders of a residence card based on an extended long-term residence permit.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

As of May 4, 2021, the quarantine period has been lifted for travelers coming from Brazil, Republic of Botswana, Union of Comoros, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Zambia, Republic of Zimbabwe, Republic of Peru, Republic of Colombia, and South Africa.

Until May 29, 2021, all travelers arriving from India are required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Travelers arriving in Spain by air or sea are subject to health checks, including temperature monitoring, and visual inspection of the traveler’s health status. Current list of countries considered as areas of risk whose travelers are required to undertake an RT-PCR and/or TMA test within 72 hours prior to their arrival to Spain. Children under 6 years old are not required to undertake the COVID-19 test. Negative test results should be presented in Spanish, French, English, or German. If the test is issued in another language a translation shall be provided.

The following red countries list will be effective until April 25, 2021: DENOMINACIÓN

All travelers are required to fill out a form prior to arrival which will facilitate the evaluation of their status in relation to COVID-19 and provide contact details for contact tracing purposes, should this be necessary. Travelers can complete the form online at www.spth.gob.es or via the free application SPAIN TRAVEL HEALTH-SPTH. Once the form is completed, travelers will receive a code to provide during their health check on arrival in Spain.

Status of Government Services

Online filing is available for many applications.

Immigration offices have reopened and are providing in-person services by appointment. Currently, most processes require an appointment, and the authorities are both rescheduling appointments that were canceled during the state of alarm when most immigration offices were closed and scheduling new appointments. This is resulting in a shortage of appointments and there are reports that the online appointment scheduling system is being hacked. This matter has been raised to the relevant authorities.

Some consulates are open, with openings and closures depending on the COVID-19-related measures taken in each country. Please contact the relevant consulate for information on its status and service offerings.

Concessions

The authorities have advised that foreign nationals whose permits/cards are automatically extended can travel to their country of origin and back to Spain, provided they re-enter Spain before December 21, 2020, without applying for a re-entry permit before traveling. However, there is a risk that the airlines will not be aware of this practice and will not let the traveler board their return flight to Spain. Accordingly, affected travelers should consult with their immigration professionals before traveling.

This automatic extension no longer applies to HQS work permits, standard work permits, corporate employment permits, or patents (if the patent expires between March 15 and December 15, 2020, it is possible to apply for its renewal without leaving Russia). Holders of these documents and their employers are required to apply for an extension using the standard process.

Holders of business, guest, tourist, private and technical visas will have to leave Russia once the 276-day grace period expires unless they can find an employer and apply for a work permit and work visa by December 15, 2020.

Foreign nationals with work visas expiring between March 15 and December 15, 2020, can apply for an extension; although applications for work visa extensions are being accepted now, provided the work permit has been extended (work permit extension applications are also being accepted now).

The period between March 15 and December 15, 2020, will not be counted toward the six-month stay limit abroad applicable to participants of state programs for relocation of compatriots living abroad, TRP and PRP holders, and foreign nationals subject to administrative removal or deportation will not be required to depart during this period.

SWEDEN

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Entry from within the EU/Schengen Area and the UK is allowed.

Until May 31, 2021, travelers from outside the EU/Schengen Area and UK are banned from entering except nationals and residents of EU/Schengen Area countries, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City and their dependents; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; holders of Swedish visas and residence permits and their dependents; residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; those providing essential services; students; travelers in transit; the staff of international organizations; military personnel; and those with urgent family reasons.

Foreign nationals with new Swedish permits are advised not to attempt to enter Sweden until after the travel restrictions have ended, as they might not be admitted.

Border checks are in place at crossings from Norway and Finland and on the Sweden side of the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Sweden has not imposed any quarantine or COVID-19 testing requirements.

Status of Government Services

The Swedish Migration Agency has decided that applications for visas for Sweden should generally be rejected, as long as the entry ban remains in place. However, those exempted from the entry ban who require visas will be eligible to obtain them.

SWITZERLAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions
The following are allowed to enter Switzerland:
  • Citizens of Switzerland;
  • Holders of Swiss residence permits;
  • Cross-border workers;
  • Those entering from Schengen countries;
  • Travelers transiting through Switzerland;
  • Third-country national workers who have a Swiss work permit;
  • Nationals of EU/EFTA countries with a Swiss employment contract signed before March 25, 2020 and a lease agreement valid on or before April 1, 2020;
  • Travelers entering for family reunification;
  • Students of any nationality to start, continue or complete their studies provided the education/training lasts 90 days or longer;
  • Third-country nationals who will not work, such as retirees, staying for longer than 90 days; and
  • Others with a pressing need to enter.
Nationals of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the non-Schengen EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania) are expected to be admissible beginning July 20, 2020. Nationals of China will be admissible provided China reciprocates by admitting nationals of Switzerland.
Entry by other third-country nationals for a stay of less than 90 days that does not normally require a permit (e.g., for non-urgent business travel, tourism, medical treatment or a short study program) will not be permitted except in cases of special necessity.
Switzerland has removed all Schengen internal border controls and reopened all border crossings, thus re-establishing the free movement of people.
Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements
Those entering from countries considered high-risk are subject to a 10-day self-quarantine.
Companies are again required to give notification of job vacancies, a requirement that was temporarily waived during the lockdown.
Status of Government Services
Consulates are again issuing entry visas for travelers allowed to enter Switzerland.
Processing has resumed for all types of immigration applications.
Concessions
Holders of Swiss or Schengen visas who have been ineligible to enter Switzerland due to travel restrictions can apply for a new visa at no cost when the restrictions are removed.

TAIWAN

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of May 19, 2021 and until June 18, 2021, Non-R.O.C. nationals without a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) will be temporarily banned from entry to Taiwan. Exceptions may be made for individuals who obtain entry permission for emergency or humanitarian reasons. Transit travelers will be temporarily barred from entry.

Foreign nationals who do not hold an ARC may apply to enter Taiwan for all purposes except tourism, general social visits, and study. General social visits refers to attending events that are open to the public, with no specific contact or responsible person; visiting friends; attending a wedding; attending sporting events, concerts, or performances; participating in festivals and cultural activities; etc. Most foreign nationals will need to apply for a Special Entry Permit from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in their country of residence. Those normally eligible for visa-free entry may still qualify for such entry but will need to present specific documents at the port of entry. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and assistance with the application/entry process.

Hong Kong and Macao residents may enter Taiwan for certain purposes provided they hold an entry permit, including special humanitarian reasons or emergency situations (e.g., bereavement or family member with a critical illness); to fulfill contractual obligations and as part of internal transfers within multinational enterprises. Hong Kong and Macao residents who hold an ARC may enter if they are the spouse or child of a ROC national, or for commercial and trade exchanges (e.g., holders of an ARC related to employment, investment, or entrepreneurship).

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Foreign nationals and Hong Kong and Macao residents who have received permission to enter Taiwan must present a certificate in English confirming a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days before boarding when checking in for their flight to Taiwan.
Diplomats, those providing humanitarian assistance, those entering for emergency situations, and crewmembers of vessels arriving in Taiwan are exempt from this requirement.

Travelers who are admitted must generally undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine upon entry.

However, short-term business travelers who qualify to enter Taiwan, who will stay in Taiwan for less than three months, who will conduct only approved business activities (e.g., after-sales service, technical guidance, and training, contract signing), who are traveling from a country with low risk of infection (New Zealand, Australia, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan) or low-to-medium risk of infection (South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore) according to the CDC, and who have not been outside of these countries in the 14 days before boarding their flight to Taiwan, are eligible to apply for a shortened quarantine period. They should prepare all relevant supporting documents, including an itinerary and an epidemic prevention plan, for inclusion with their application for a Special Entry Permit from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the country of residence. They must have a medical report with a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 issued within 3 days before boarding their flight. For travelers who do not meet the above requirements, if there are critical business needs, a special case can be submitted. The list of low and low-to-medium risk countries will be reviewed regularly and revised as needed. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and assistance with the application process.

Those on a home quarantine are strictly forbidden from leaving their home or other places of accommodation for 14 days. They will receive health checks from the local health authorities twice daily. Penalties for noncompliance with home quarantine rules include mandatory medical isolation and fines ranging from NT$100,000 to NT$1,000,000 under the Communicable Disease Control Act.

All travelers to Taiwan should use their mobile phone to log into the Quarantine System for Entry (https://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw) prior to boarding their flight to Taiwan and fill out a health declaration form. This will facilitate the immigration process at the port of entry as well as community prevention measures following entry.

Status of Government Services

As of May 17, 2021, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will halt processing of visa applications. Entry will also be suspended for foreign nationals holding a valid visitor visa or resident visa.

Foreign nationals that require entry to Taiwan due to an emergency or humanitarian issue, such as attending a funeral or visiting a critically ill family member, must receive special permission from the CECC before applying for a special entry permit visa from the Taiwan offices in their home country.

THAILAND

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Thailand has extended their state of emergency until July 31, 2021, under which it has banned most travel into the country by land, sea, or air with exceptions for:

Guests of the Government; Members of diplomatic missions or international organizations or representatives of foreign governmental agencies; Spouse, father, mother, children of a Thai citizen; Holder of Certificate of Residence (Permanent Residence) issued by the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau; Holder of a valid Work Permit, including spouse and children; Carriers of necessary goods, subject to immediate return after completion; Crew members on a mission; ED Visa holder; Patients (not COVID-19 patients) who need certain types of medical treatment in Thailand; Non-Thai nationals who are permitted to enter Thailand under a special arrangement or have been granted by the Prime Minister; Former Thai Citizens; Court appearance; Transit Passengers; Religious/Missionary work with work permit; Volunteers or Non-Governmental organization worker (NGO); Approved Participants of Sport Activities/Tournaments; Visa Exemption Countries/Territories: Andora, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hongkong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Sweden, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam.

Travelers from other countries (not listed above) will need to obtain a visa before entering Thailand.

All travelers must obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by a Thai Embassy or Consulate, before departure and complete a 14-day Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) upon arrival in Thailand.

Nationals of Hong Kong, Italy, and South Korea are no longer eligible for a visa exemption and must apply for a consular visa to enter Thailand.

Nationals of Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu are temporarily no longer eligible for a visa on arrival and must apply for a consular visa to enter Thailand.

Foreign nationals with a critical need to return to Thailand who hold a valid work permit or have been authorized to work in Thailand can use a specific process to apply for admission. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and process details.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

On May 1, 2021, the Centre of COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has announced the extension of the quarantine period for all international travelers regardless of their nationalities or vaccination status in order to reduce the risk of local transmission of new COVID-19 variants in Thailand. The new regulation elevating the quarantine period to 14 days for all travelers entering Thailand, regardless of nationality and vaccination is as follows:

  • Travelers who obtain their Certificate of Entry (COE) after May 1, 2021, must quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival.
  • Travelers who obtain their COE before May 1, 2021, must quarantine under these conditions:
    • Those arriving in Thailand between May 1-5 will quarantine as indicated on their COE (7-14 days)
    • Those arriving in Thailand from May 6 and afterward must quarantine for at least 14 days.

Quarantine Activities

Quarantined arrivals will be allowed to have more activities, according to the Health Restrictions, including fitness, access to outdoor exercise areas and swimming pools, controlled areas for cycling, and delivery orders.

Required Documents

Foreigners will no longer have to present a Fit to Fly Certificate; however, a COVID-19 PCR Test within 72 hours before the flight is still required.

To summarize, prior to entering Thailand, the Pre-Arrival requirement and Certificate of Entry (COE) are still required and remain unchanged. The only item that will be omitted and no longer required when applying for a COE is the “Fit to Fly Health Certificate issued within 72 hours before departure.” Effective April 1, 2021, the following documents shall be required in order to obtain a COE from a Thai Embassy.

  • A completed and signed “Declaration Form” obtained from the Thai Embassy
  • A medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected by RT-PCR method within 72 hours before departure
  • A copy of a Health Insurance Policy with at least USD 100,000 coverage for COVID-19 in Thailand

Upon arrival in Thailand, foreign nationals must fulfill the post-arrival requirement of a 10-day quarantine (Except: those who depart from countries with new COVID variants, the 14-day quarantine will remain) in a government-designated Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) at their own expense and comply with all health regulations under Thailand’s Emergency Decree.

Status of Government Services

Given the State Emergency Decree has been extended to July 31, 2021, the Immigration Bureau has subsequently implemented to continue allowing foreigners who stranded in Thailand and cannot leave to be able to continue staying in the country (this scheme of visa was previously announced to be ended and implemented only until May 29). Foreigners in all types of visa holder categories shall be eligible to apply for 60 days COVID visa extension until July 29, 2021 provided that they are qualified based on the requirements set by the Immigration Bureau.

Government agencies are operating with reduced staff and processing delays are to be expected.

Applicants for visas at Thai embassies may need to submit a medical certificate with their application. Applicants should check with the relevant embassy before applying.

The Board of Investment (BOI) will not accept online work permit applications from foreign nationals until they have self-quarantined for at least 14 days after their arrival in Thailand.

Urgent Work Permit (UWP) and Standard Work Permit (SWP) processing is suspended until further notice. Employers who urgently need a foreign national to start work can request special approval before submitting the SWP application.

Concessions

The Thai Immigration Authority will allow foreign nationals whose travel plans have been impacted by the coronavirus and who wish to extend their stay in Thailand to apply for visa extensions. Foreign nationals must first contact their embassy in Thailand to request a confirmation letter, then file a visa extension request that includes the letter with the Immigration Authority.

All foreign nationals staying in Thailand whose visas or visa-exemption status have expired on or after March 26, 2020, will have their visas automatically extended until July 31, 2020.
Foreign nationals whose 90-day reports are due on or after March 26, 2020, do not need to report until July 31, 2020.

Holders of Border Passes may stay in Thailand for the time being but must leave within seven days of the border crossing opening.

TURKEY

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Turkey has lifted its entry ban.

International commercial flights are again operating between Turkey and many destinations.

As of June 7, 2021, restrictions are in place for passengers arriving from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, South Africa, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

Travelers departing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and those who are understood to have been in these countries within the preceding 14 days will be requested to submit a negative PCR test report 72 hours before entering Turkey, and these passengers will be quarantined for 14 days in places determined by the governorships of the final destination city the passenger arrives at in Turkey.

If a PCR test result taken on the 14th day of quarantine is negative, the quarantine will be terminated. Passengers whose PCR test results are positive will be taken into isolation and the measures will be terminated only when there is a negative PCR test result.

(ii) Travelers departing from the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore: will be required to submit a negative PCR test result which must be taken 72 hours before entering Turkey.

(iii) Travelers entering Turkey from the countries not listed under sections (i) and (ii): will not be required to submit a negative PCR test result if they submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities stating that they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before entrance to Turkey and/or have had the disease and cured within the last 6 months. Quarantine measures will not be applied to these passengers. If passengers departing from these countries cannot submit a vaccine certificate or the documents proving that they have had the disease according to the stated rules, submission of a PCR negative test result made a maximum of 72 hours before the entrance to Turkey or a negative rapid antigen test result made maximum 48 hours before the entrance to Turkey will be deemed sufficient.

Vaccinated Travelers

When entering Turkey from countries that do not have travel restrictions, travelers will not be required to submit a negative PCR test result if they submit a document issued by the relevant country’s official authorities stating that they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before entrance to Turkey and/or have had the disease and recovered within the last 6 months.

If the traveler has not complied with the vaccination requirements, those seeking entry into Turkey must have a negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of flight departure to Turkey. This requirement is regardless of nationality, so includes Turkish nationals. The only exceptions to this rule are for travelers less than 6 years old, true transit passengers (passengers who will reboard an onward flight without leaving a Turkish airport), certain sailors (crewmembers), and certain truck drivers. Digital (online) proof of PCR test result is acceptable.

Note: Some travelers entering Turkey may be randomly subjected to a PCR test at their destination. Passengers will be allowed to go to their final destination after the test samples are taken, and if the test results are positive, they will be treated in accordance with Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines.

Travelers with positive test results will be quarantined for 14 days at the addresses they shared and if the PCR test results to be made at the end of the 10th day are negative, the quarantine conditions will be terminated. The quarantine conditions of those who are found to have an Indian

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers arriving in Turkey who visited Brazil, India, or South Africa within the last 10 days must quarantine upon arrival for 14 days at a place designated by Turkish authorities. On the tenth day of the quarantine, these travelers will be subject to a second PCR test. If the result is negative, they will be released from quarantine.

Travelers entering Turkey from other destinations are no longer required to quarantine.
As of December 30, 2020, all travelers must present a negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of flight departure to Turkey. This includes Turkey citizens. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either be sent to a hospital or denied entry to Turkey.

Passengers who have been present in the UK within ten days of arrival in Turkey will be quarantined for 14 days.

As of April 29, 2021, during the month of Ramadan and the week of the Ramadan holiday subsequent through May 17th, 2021, new COVID restrictions include a full lockdown 24/7. Individuals may leave their homes for very limited reasons such as the purchase of food and similar essentials within walking distance only. Certain essential workers are exempt including health workers, police, certain government workers, food and agriculture workers, transport workers, media and journalism workers, bank employees, as well as those heading directly to medical appointments or government exams, and more.

Status of Government Services

The Istanbul Migration Directorate stopped in-person residence permit appointments and announced that Istanbul residence permit applications are to be filed by post instead of in-person.

The Ministry of Labor is closed but in-country applications may be filed online. Many consular posts are either closed or providing limited services. Applicants should check the status of the relevant consulate before filing applications.

Concessions

Foreign nationals unable to leave Turkey due to travel restrictions will not be subject to overstay penalties if they leave the country within 30 days of the lifting of the travel restrictions.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of April 24, 2021, travelers from India are banned from entering the country. Travelers coming from India through other countries must have stayed in those countries for at least 14 days to be allowed to enter the UAE.

Vaccinated travelers arriving from “green-listed” countries are allowed to enter the country without needing to quarantine upon arrival. Vaccinated travelers from “green-listed” countries will only need to take a PCR test upon arrival and again on day six; both tests must show a negative result.

Effective March 02, 2021, new visas are temporarily suspended for applicants outside of the UAE both in DMCC and DDA until further notice. Shareholders, students, and applicants above 50 years old are excluded from this announcement, and they can still apply for the visa.

Resident permit holders who are outside the UAE are allowed to enter again.

For UAE residents flying into airports in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, there will be no need to apply for pre-approval to enter. This is applicable for UAE residents with residency issued from any of the seven Emirates. However, GDRFA approval requirements remain, for residents returning to Dubai airports – this is a separate application and is needed for all UAE residents who plan to fly into Dubai.

Returning citizens must register with the Twajudi service (ICA). A helpline has also been established (0097124965228 or 0097192083344) to assist Emiratis who are abroad.
Business visitors, tourists, and nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are again allowed to enter.

Indian nationals may now travel to the UAE on visit visas.

Citizens and residents may now leave Abu Dhabi emirate without a permit and free movement within Abu Dhabi is now allowed without a permit. Those wishing to enter/reenter must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, which has replaced the move permit requirement. This can be done via the Al Hosn mobile app. Precautionary health measures will apply upon entry.

Emirates and Etihad Airlines have expanded their services to accommodate business travelers and tourists who are now allowed to enter.

UAE citizens, residents, and visitors, and those with expired or canceled visas are again permitted to travel abroad; however, it is not possible to travel to all destinations. Travelers should check with the airlines for flight availability and check the entry requirements in the destination country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Precautionary Health measures introduced at the beginning of February 2021 will be extended until the start of Ramadan in mid-April.

Travelers who have been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before traveling to Dubai will not be able to enter the country. This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions. Members of diplomatic missions traveling from Nigeria must present a negative COVID 19 PCR test certificate from one of the authorized laboratories in Nigeria.

Any visitors traveling from countries, regions, and territories on the ‘green’ list will be exempt from quarantine requirements and can enter the destination by following a series of procedures that include COVID-19 tests. Ahead of departure, travelers to Abu Dhabi from these places will be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test received within 96 hours before their scheduled departure.

All arriving travelers, including UAE citizens and residents, will be required to present the results of a negative COVID-19 test issued within 96 hours before arrival. Emirates airlines have released a list of approved testing centers for the pre-flight COVID testing. While the list is not exhaustive, it provides listings for over 38 countries for testing options.

All travelers will also be tested on arrival.

Effective January 17, 2021, all travelers arriving in Abu Dhabi must present a negative result of the PCR Test no older than 48 hours before arriving. A second test must be taken on the 4th day after arrival and another one on the 8th day. This procedure applies to all UAE residents except for those vaccinated as part of the national vaccination program.

To meet the increased demand for the less expensive, faster, DPI COVID testing, the UAE has opened four new testing centers in Abu Dhabi. Travelers must remain isolated until their test results are available. All who test positive will be required to isolate for 14 days. Tourists who test positive must isolate at a government-designated facility at their own expense. Those who test negative are not required to isolate.

All arriving travelers must download the Al Hosn tracking application. Travelers to Dubai must also register their details on the COVID-19 DXB app.

All travelers must complete a Health Declaration Form before boarding their flight. Airlines may prevent those with COVID-19 symptoms from boarding flights.

All travelers must register on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

All tourists and visitors must have international health insurance that includes coverage for COVID-19.

Status of Government Services

Agreement signed between GDRFA-Dubai and Dubai Tourism to provide e-services for special visa schemes, It will promote online services for the issuance of residency permits for various investor programs and special visas. These include the ‘Distinguished Guests and the Virtual Working’ programs, ‘Golden Visas’ for investors, and retirement visas.

Effectively, Out of country Visa Applications for the following nationalities: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, Yemen, Tunisia, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Lebanon will not be accepted temporarily until further notice. Applicants that are already in the UAE on a tourist visa, visit visa, and canceled visa will not be affected but application processing timeline can be expected to take longer than usual.

The processing of applications for new Entry Permits (EPs) from outside the UAE is temporarily suspended. It is unknown when processing will resume. In-country processing continues.

Government offices have reopened at 100% capacity. The issuance of visa stamps and Emirates ID cards in the country has resumed. Residence Visa stamping has resumed.
The authorities continue to process in-country applications for free-zone work permits and in-country visa applications and renewals.

The processing of new visas for tourists, employees, and their dependents has resumed across the UAE and outside the UAE. However, there is a temporary ban on applications for new entry permits from outside the UAE for nationals of Afghanistan, India, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The UAE authorities have started accepting out-of-country employment visa applications to most free zones with mainland applications expected to follow shortly. Before submitting the application, the applicant must confirm that he/she is allowed to depart from the country where he/she is located.

Those whose status is expiring soon may apply for a new visit or tourist visa through any travel and tourism agency in the UAE.

Medical centers have reopened for medical exams. Medical tests are again required for all visa applications, including renewals, with no exemptions.

Concessions

Foreigners who came to the UAE on tourist visas and whose visas and entry permits have expired before December 28, 2020, will now be deemed valid until March 31, 2021, without any charge.

UNITED KINGDOM

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The UK borders remain open. However, beginning on Friday, April 23rd, India will be added to England’s “red list”. The complete list of countries included on the “red list” can be found here.

Travel bans will remain in place for travelers coming to England from any country included on the “red list”.

UK and Irish nationals and residents may continue to enter England from countries included on the “red list”, but will be required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel facility for 10 days upon arrival.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Effective January 18, 2021, all travelers arriving to the UK by boat, plane, or train need to present a negative PCR Test no older than 72 hours, UK citizens included.

Most travelers arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 10 days. They are also required to fill out a contact locator form with their contact information, including a local address. If they do not have appropriate accommodation, the government will designate a quarantine location. Certain travelers are exempt from the self-isolation requirement. Government officials will conduct spot checks to ensure compliance. Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of GBP 1,000 or higher and possible prosecution.

Status of Government Services

Activities for which UK short-term business visitors do not need a work visa:
Meetings and consultations; Research and design; Marketing research; Training seminars; Trade fairs and exhibitions; Sales; Purchasing; After-sales or after-lease service; Commercial transactions; Tourism personnel; Translation and interpretation.
Most Visa Application Centers (VACs) outside the UK have now reopened. Priority and Super Priority services are not yet available.

Most Application Support Centers (ASCs) in the United States and its territories reopened in July. The ASC in Toronto is also open. Services are by appointment only–no walk-ins are allowed. Note that only 20% of the usual number of appointments will be available. New appointment slots will be released every Thursday. No settlement or priority processing is available. Applicants who were unable to keep their appointments due to COVID-19 may reschedule at the same location only. Application submission and pick-ups cannot be completed in person and must be done via FedEx.

Service and Support Centers (SSCs) in the UK have reopened but there is a reduced number of appointments available.

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centers have also reopened. See the UKVCAS website for the list of open centers and further information. Note that thousands of applicants are having trouble scheduling appointments at UKVCAS centers as centers address the backlog of cases that have built up due to COVID-19.

Applicants who have previously applied for a UK visa will be able to avoid attending an appointment at a visa center. They would instead use a new UKVCAS Identity Verification (IDV) mobile app to submit facial images and supporting information. It has not yet been announced exactly when the app will become available–a phased rollout will begin in August 2020 and eligible customers will be contacted.

Meanwhile, new applicants must wait to secure an appointment at a visa center to submit their biometric information.

Applications can be filed online but will be kept on hold until the centers reopen after which appointments can be made. Priority and Super Priority services are not available. All applications will be processed under standard service for adjudication in 6 to 8 weeks once the centers reopen. Those whose visas expire during the closures will not be adversely affected.

Responses from the UKVI and Home Office are taking longer to obtain due to the increased volume of email queries.

Concessions

Non-EU nationals in the UK for work or study are allowed to work or study from home.
Those in the UK who wish to switch to a long-term visa and would normally need to do so from their home country may now apply using the UKVI in-country online application process. Since there are processing delays related to COVID-19, applicants’ leave will remain valid until their application is adjudicated. This option is only available if the current visa has an expiration date between January 24 and July 31, 2020. Note that to complete this process the applicant must appear at a UKVCAS center.

Tier 2 visa applicants may begin working prior to the adjudication of their application if their sponsors have assigned them a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS); if the position they are assuming is the one indicated on their CoS; and if the visa application was submitted prior to the expiry of their current visa.

The visas of doctors, nurses, or paramedics working or volunteering for the NHS and those of their family members with an expiration date before October 1, 2020, will be automatically extended for one year. No application is necessary, and no fees will be charged. The Home Office will notify eligible workers and their employers.

Tier 2, 4, and 5 sponsors are not required to report student or employee absences that the sponsors have authorized due to the student/employee’s illness, quarantine, or restricted travel related to the coronavirus. Employers also do not need to report that employees are working from home due to COVID-19.

Sponsors are not required to withdraw sponsorship if a student is unable to attend classes for more than 60 days or an employee is absent from work and not paid for four weeks or more if the sponsor considers the circumstances exceptional due to the coronavirus.

The Home Office will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are absent from classes/work due to the coronavirus or sponsors who continue to sponsor them.
Employers can temporarily reduce the salaries of their sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower. Salary reductions must be for the purpose of avoiding redundancies and settled and sponsored workers must be treated the same. Any change in salary or working hours should be reported to the Home Office.

Please see the UK government’s Coronavirus: advice for Tier 2, 4, and 5 sponsors page and Coronavirus: advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents page for more information on these and other concessions.

The Home Office has introduced temporary changes to facilitate the right-to-work check process during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of May 14, 2021, the Home Office has confirmed that the coronavirus provisions regarding the right to work checks will be extended until June 20, 2021.

URUGUAY

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Uruguay government has reopened their borders for citizens of the EU.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers must present a negative result of PCR test carried out 72 hours before travel; self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or perform a new swab on the 7th day after arrival. Depending on the result of the swab the quarantine will end or continue.

VIETNAM

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Several provincial departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs have issued guidance on how organizations can apply for authorization for foreign investors, business managers, experts, specialists, and highly skilled workers to enter or re-enter Vietnam. See below under “Status of Government Services”. Entry remains restricted for other categories of travelers (e.g., business visitors).

The visa exemption scheme has been suspended for all nationalities.

Flights/travel will begin reopening one-way flights from Hanoi and HCMC to Tokyo, Japan from September 18, 2020. Other flights to South Korea, China, Taiwan, Laos and Cambodia will be available shortly.

Note that regular commercial flights coming to Vietnam have not reopened yet.
Flights/travel in and out of Danang and surrounding provinces is currently restricted as per recent outbreaks in those areas.

Hanoi and HCMC International airports will be closed:

  • In Hanoi, from June 1 until June 7, 2021
  • In HCMC, since last May 27 until June 14, 2021

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers coming from “safe” countries into Vietnam will have shorter quarantine periods from to 5-7 days. Travelers coming from other countries will have to follow normal quarantine protocols.

All domestic travelers coming to HCMC with travel originating from Hanoi, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Nai will be monitored closely and might be requested to self-quarantine, be tested, and/or proceed to centralized quarantine/treatment centers depending of the level of exposure of the area of origin. Travelers will be categorized into 4 groups and apply different levels of health monitoring for each group for at least 14 days. Those travelers who do receive a notification from the authorities should follow all instructions as follows:

Group 1 – Individuals who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients: requires centralized quarantine; COVID-19 testing.

Group 2 – Individuals who departed an area where strict social distancing requirements were in place: requires centralized quarantine; COVID-19 testing.

Group 3 – Individuals who have been to venues determined by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health as high-risk: requires self-quarantine at home; COVID-19 testing may be required if an individual has COVID-19 symptoms.

Group 4 – All others: self-monitor health condition; COVID-19 testing may be required if an individual has COVID-19 symptoms.

All admissible travelers arriving in Vietnam by any mode of transportation will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a quarantine center, hotel or resort designated by the government, at their host entity’s expense. Those who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to stay in their room for 14 days. Those diagnosed with COVID-19 will be subject to a longer quarantine. Health testing will be conducted during the quarantine.

Organizations that sponsor experts to enter Vietnam must ensure 1) that the experts have a PCR test for COVID-19 three to seven days before the entry date through a government-approved or WHO-approved laboratory; 2) that the experts have international health insurance that will cover them if they are infected with COVID-19 (or the inviting organization must agree to pay for treatment); and 3) that the organizations take precautions to prevent and control COVID-19 at the workplace. These requirements apply to experts entering Vietnam on or after August 5, 2020.

On August 31st, the Ministry of Health issued a new guideline for short-term business travelers entering Vietnam for less than 14 days. This new guideline would allow the short-term traveler to avoid the normal 14-day quarantine and instead allow them (with strict supervision), to perform specific meetings and tasks outside of their quarantine hotel. Any movement outside of the hotel must be arranged, approved, and overseen by Provincial centers for disease control and prevention (CDC). Further, short term travelers must still make a reservation at one of the designated quarantine hotels and are not allowed to travel freely during their stay in Vietnam.

Status of Government Services

All immigration departments have resumed operations. Temporary Residence Card and visa extension applications for in-country applicants are being accepted again.

In Hanoi, the Labor Department is still accepting new and renewal work permit applications from applicants who are in Vietnam except for applications from Chinese e-passport holders. Additional supporting documents may be requested for applicants who entered after February 1, 2020.

In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the HCMC Labor Department is processing renewal/reissuance applications for those who meet the criteria. Additional documentation may be required for those who entered after February 1, 2020.

Several provincial departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs have issued guidance on how organizations can apply for authorization for foreign investors, business managers, experts, specialists, and highly skilled workers to enter or re-enter Vietnam.

Organizations/companies must submit a standard request letter and a form that requests information about the foreign national to their province’s department of labor. The provincial labor department will then send all requests to the provincial People’s Committee, which will make a decision in each case and, for approved cases, coordinate the issuance of visas, quarantine, transportation, etc. with the relevant authorities. Please contact your immigration professional for additional information and assistance with the process.

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